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Should Babies Be Banned From Classy Places?

The Alinea crying baby controversy has gone nationwide.

Crying babies in restaurants - weigh in. Credit: Corbis RF
Crying babies in restaurants - weigh in. Credit: Corbis RF
When a Chicago couple brought their 8-month-old baby to the very high-end restaurant Alinea, and that baby cried (as babies do), people got mad.

Other diners complained that a baby shouldn't ruin their expensive meal, that parents with young kids should stick to family restaurants, according to an article on the Huffington Post.

Alinea Chef Grant Achatz didn't mince words, tweeting to say maybe babies should be banned from his upscale restaurant going forward: "And no, in case you were wondering, Alinea -- Chicago's lone restaurant boasting Michelin's coveted three-star rating -- definitely does not have a kids' menu. Nor high chairs."

What do you think? Should babies be banned from nice restaurants and movie theaters? Or should parents have the option to go out whenever they want, even with kids in tow?

Tell us in the comments.
Cat Lover January 17, 2014 at 02:59 PM
I find it rather odd that parents would want to take an infant to a very high class restaurant. A meal at such a place is rather long and very expensive; therefore, those choosing to indulge them selves would not want to deal with a baby would would get bored, squirmy and noisy in the hours it takes to complete such a meal. I've never eaten at Alinea; however, have dined at Topolobambo, Tallgrass and the Everest Room. The meals at both places were over two hours in duration. A small baby is not going to be content for that long and would definitely require attention from the parents. I've never seen an infant in the high class places. Most people shelling out that amount for a meal want to dine in quiet and comfort.
oldschool January 17, 2014 at 11:06 PM
Parents should have the common sense not to put their children in these situations in the first place. I think this is representative of the new breed of parents who think that their precious cherub is so special that everyone on the planet Earth will want to listen to them wail for several hours. Or, even more "special" and entertaining is when they let them run rampant in public places when they are a little older. By the way, I have raised 4 of mine own and when possible tried to take them to places that were appropriate. However, during the times that they were out and did misbehave, I removed them from the situation as soon as possible.
D L January 18, 2014 at 12:35 AM
oldschool I couldn't agree more. Today's parents feel entitled to bring there babies wherever they want regardless how disruptive or upsetting they may be to others around them. The world is for them only. I have 2 adult kids and never even gave it a thought to bring them where "they really didn't belong". And if for some reason they acted up in public, I removed them from the situation. I think today' s young parents think the world revolves around them and their kids, and if anyone didn't like it.......too bad !! There is a real moral decline today in our country.
WLA January 18, 2014 at 02:10 PM
crying babies don't belong at a fancy restaurants same for obnoxious cell phone users.As I understand it,the couple paid for the ticket and their babysitter canceled. I don't think it was their original intention to bring the kid. Maybe Alinea could have a policy to refund the tickets or provide ticket holders a wait list so they could sell their tix
tazrees January 18, 2014 at 08:29 PM
Certain places are inappropriate for small children, and I believe Alinea (and similar) is such the place. As a good will gesture, I think Alinea could have kept the couples money, and offered them a reschedule date. It would have prevented an unhappy evening for the other guest that were dining that evening and had to endure an unhappy child. Of course, this way Alinea manages to get their name in the national news spotlight,... in this case not a positive in my opinion. j/s
chris moore January 18, 2014 at 10:26 PM
If you can afford Alinea's you can afford a babysitter, nuf said.
Cathy January 19, 2014 at 08:05 AM
Stupid parents should be the ones banned. @Chris you are right if you can afford a fancy restaurant then get yourself a sitter. (sitter cancel? then cancel your reservations. Duh)
WLA January 19, 2014 at 08:23 AM
It wasn't a reservation it was a non refundable ticket. Alinea could avoid this. By having some way of hooking up those that can't make it with people who are waiting.
ANN MARIE January 20, 2014 at 10:28 AM
Older parents know this already - newer parents get a clue. We do not want to listen to your baby or toddler or young child cry or whine when we are out dining. There are appropriate places for families like yours - Red Robin for example. when meals are upwards of $100.00 please leave your kid at home. Sitter cancelled? Its happened to us all and it sucks, but you are inconveniencing 20 other couples from experiencing a meal and night out in an ambiance that is for adults only. Adult conversation in an atmosphere that is amazing and bliss. And child free. Get a clue we do not want your kids there and more then we want OUR kids there.
Phaedrus Pirsig January 20, 2014 at 11:37 AM
Ban 'em Danno!
McCloud January 20, 2014 at 11:57 AM
If they bring back smoking in restaurants maybe the babies would stay home.
sklogw January 20, 2014 at 02:02 PM
no that's discrimination...lol geeze
Cyndi Anderson January 20, 2014 at 05:48 PM
There should be some empathy&flexibility in this situation. Perhaps a section dedicated to families? Where do we draw the line? Toddlers, preschool, grade school, all kids can be a handful, seriously!
Grumpy Old Man January 21, 2014 at 09:36 AM
The comments by Alinea's owner and chef on certain websites were very illuminating. They indicated that they'd had babies in the past and this was the first time there was a problem. Alinea doesn't refund the deposit so if a sitter cancels at the last minute the idiots who call for them to cancel their reservations should step up, sign on to a pay list and refund the deposits. Or Alinea should change its policy concerning refunds (but given its system I doubt if they would). Alinea would be perfectly within its right to ask that a baby be removed who couldn't be controlled and if the parents were unwilling, to remove them. I don't know if Alinea could manage a family section, but Cyndi's comment is at least intelligent compared to the baby haters and the indulgent in themselves rich who think that we lesser income types are entitled to be disturbed by crying babies, but not them. I'd hate to have a young child in an apartment (condo) next to them and listen to their complaints of the baby crying in the middle of the night. I mean we had one of these pampered princesses ranting about how it isn't ok for a parent to bring a baby onto an airplane and comparing bringing one into Alinea is like throwing a bone to a rabid dog. It's amazing all of the Dr. Spock's we have in these comments who"know" what is appropriate for every child. Dr. Spock even had to atone for some of his errors. If Alinea wishes to ban children of tender years that is their decision. Their comments in other posts following this incident indicated they were not presently so inclined. I doubt if most of their customers will avoid a Michelin 3 star on the chance that a crying babe will render their visit that much less enjoyable (why allow their ego to be bruised by not sitting through the toddler's tantrum - who knows they can put on one of their own as they relate the "horrid" experience). No, I've never been to Alineas. I have no plans nor desire to do so. I assume the experience is an experience and that the food will be superb. But I have other uses for my money than to see the fruits of a four hour extravaganza flushed away the very next day. My ego doesn't need it. For those who like it and enjoy it and who wish to go, the more power to you.
Phaedrus Pirsig January 21, 2014 at 11:07 AM
G.O.M that post is below your usual common sense, would you pay for cable if all the channels were snow? Would you get a massage next to a lawn mower. Your condo example doesn't hold, people pay for things like Alinea to purposely escape their typical daily expected tolerances. Most articles on this subject are rife with these frustrated comments and IMO, represent a society that for some reason immediately makes the newest member of the household alpha, regardless if it's a child or a pet.
missmary January 21, 2014 at 12:11 PM
I have a different perspective -To say that familys should stick to "family restaurants" only is absurd. There is no reason why familys with children shouldn't be able to experience high class dining. I have young children - I've taken them all over the place. They eat off the adult menus when a children's menu isn't available. And if they get fussy, or restless we remove them from the restaurant as to not disturb the other patrons. Not every expereince is for every family/child - it's all about knowing your child's schedule and limits. And being flexible enough to know when they've had enough. If your child isn't able to sit through a 3 hour meal - don't go. I in no way expect others around me to put up with my children mis-behaving (or when they were younger, fussing because they were getting restless). Often times a quick walk in the restaurant lobby was enough to calm them down and then back to our table we went. I like choices and options - and if a restuarant banned children I wouldn't give them my money, whether or not I was on a date night or able to dine with my children. Simply put.
Grumpy Old Man January 21, 2014 at 12:38 PM
Sorry, Phaerus, I usually agree with your comments, this time you're off. Missmary right on. It is a parent's responsibility. If a parent isn't exercising it properly and are letting their child disrupt others, the management has the right to intercede and ask/demand they do so or leave.
forest barbieri January 21, 2014 at 01:19 PM
I think adults should be able to make a decision as to where they include their children. However, if indeed those same children become disruptive, it is those same adults responsibility to remedy the situation even to the extent of apologizing and leaving the restaurant during not after, the process with the offending child! I believe that is called common sense, manners and class. In addition, I believe that if an excessive mess is made, those same parents have some responsibility to somewhat clean up after their children in public places. Unfortunately, that does not play into the feeling of entitlement we so often suffer. It is also true that adults can be more distracting and obnoxious than children. . Having said that, I remember owning a store in Maui and having a family with two boys about 6 years old come in to look around. The boys began wrestling and knocked over a very expensive mannequin. The father looked at me and said, "They need to take their aggression out." I told him that they also needed to leave the store before my aggression's turned to him:)
Grumpy Old Man January 21, 2014 at 04:36 PM
Or what?
Highlands HP'er January 21, 2014 at 05:46 PM
I agree that ideally parents should be able to judge what their children can handle and I don't have a problem with parents who swiftly take action with misbehaving children. However, I think the big problem is how many parents just don't care or don't notice. Add to this how many managers of establishments that are completely unwilling to correct the issue. I remember struggling to get in to some R rated movies when I was 15. But apparently its ok if you're in a stroller. Movie theatre managers will simply offer to refund your ticket before asking the offending couple to leave. In the case of this Alinea manager, they did nothing. When you go to high end restaurants you are paying for an experience. A baby's crying is one of the most grinding noises. Especially for a 3 hour dinner. I've seen parents bringing 5 year olds in to bars (Be careful of dropping the F bomb at your local pub at 9pm during a bad football play if mom and dad have their darling there). I've heard stories of parents changing their babies diapers on restaurant tables. I'm all for having (well behaved) children around as long as the management will tell parents who wont control their children to leave.
Thomas Breyfogle January 21, 2014 at 09:20 PM
Chuck it !
Torie Felton January 23, 2014 at 10:06 AM
Ban children under 12 y/o from upscale restaurants. Also, from rated R movies! I'm appalled by how many parents bring young children to the theater to be exposed to media they can't possibly understand, nor should they.
fhc January 25, 2014 at 07:19 AM
What should be banned is the word "classy"...every time I hear it my ears bleed from the imagined Long Island whine! But yes, parents should be responsible about sharing their bundles of joy with others...especially in restaurants where the tab is listed as $$$$$ by restaurant critics. What were these people thinking? Why would you want to ruin the evening for other patrons and could they have even enjoyed the evening themselves? Seriously...perhaps this was just a ploy for them to become internet sensations themselves. Super self-centered. Super irresponsible. Super idiotic. Get the mother-in-law over to watch the kid...but DO NOT ever pull a stunt like that again.

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