Babies Should Be Banned From Fancy Restaurants

crying babyI'm pro-baby. Have one of my own, in fact. And, at some point, would love more. They're great! But just because I heart infants; think moms should be able to nurse wherever they damn well please; and find it insane for people to get pissed at parents for bringing their little ones on airplanes, I still don't think a Michelin star restaurant is an appropriate place for an 8-month-old. Especially one who won't stop crying.

Chef Grant Achatz of the $265-per-head restaurant Alinea was forced to field complaints from diners Saturday night in regards to the fact that there was a crying infant at the restaurant. Patrons, understandably, felt that the baby was ruining the experience and ambience of the three-star restaurant. Achatz took to Twitter to poll the masses on the subject.


As you may guess, most of the responses Achatz got were anti-baby-in-fancy-restaurants. "Charge the infant for a full menu. That will stop it quickly," one Twitter user wrote. Another said, "You choose to have a child (it's not mandatory or forced on anyone), then ya give up some other things. Like dinner at Next." And yet another one said: "I love kids. But I don't bring my bottle of whiskey to Chuck E. Cheese; please don't bring your infant to Alinea."

I'm a believer in the just-because-you-have-a-child-doesn't-mean-your-life-has-to-end theory. My husband and I have traveled with our daughter; taken her out to (casual) dinners; even brought her to a bar for an early-evening beer when she was first born (we lived in Brooklyn; she was one of many babies at the bar). But, sorry, a $300 a pop restaurant is no place for a child that age. Not only are people spending a lot of money to have a special, adult night, but there's no need for a baby to be at a place like that. It isn't mandatory. You can't always avoid getting on a plane (funerals, anyone?), but you don't have to go to a Michelin star restaurant. I'm sure these parents are perfectly nice people, but ... they should have either gotten a sitter or just stayed home. Like I said, your life doesn't have to end once you become a parent, but it also doesn't stay exactly the same.

Even though I'm a parent, I'd be fairly irritated if my husband and I were spending $600 for a special night out and there was a crying baby -- like the one we have at home -- at the table next to us. My heart always breaks for the moms and dads who are trying to soothe their sobbing infants in public. But it'd be pretty hard to feel bad for a parent trying to soothe their infant while eating foie gras and drinking Chateauneuf-du-Pape. 

Do you think a Michelin star restaurant is the place for an 8-month-old?


Image via Mike Kemp/Rubberball/Corbis

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nonmember avatar Lily

I like the posts I've read from you, Nicole. I agree with you: some places just aren't appropriate for infants. I love children and would never think twice about crying infants in the booth next to me at a family or more casual sit-down restaurant, but expensive places like these are simply no place for a child.

Lucki... Luckicharmz

I'm a parent, I have children, and have a baby on the way. I'll bring my kids to Swiss Chalet, Kelseys, McDonalds etc. Any type of chain family oriented restaurant. But there is a time and a place to leave children AT HOME. And that includes going to high end, 300.00 a head restaurants.

They are NOT meant for children, they are meant for adults to go and have a relaxing evening with other adults. And don't even try and use the breastfeeding excuse because I have friends who BF and tht excuse doesn't wash with them either.

nonmember avatar April

While I would NEVER pay 300 bucks a pop for food at any restaurant, people need to realize that babies and small children aren't welcome every where. I would never complain about crying children in Applebees, even if I left mine with a sitter to go out on date night. But if I go to a high class, no high chair, no kids menu place, I would expect that there will be no crying kids there

Sarah... SarahHall58

There's gonna be a ton of backlash from this but I agree. I think there are places where children shouldn't be permitted. We went through this in Pittsburgh a few years back when a restaurant owner banned children. It really is up to the owner and for a dinner that expensive why waste it on a baby

Krystian Kaufold

First off, why would you wanna pay 300$ a head for dinner, that 600$ doesn't include drinks/tip....

Secondly, April, even if I left my children at home adn went to Applebees, I would expect parents to keep their children quiet, at 8 months old, they should be able to talk at least a little bit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


kissa... kissandtell

I think if they can afford to go to a restaurant that expensive they can afford to hire a baby sitter to watch the child for a few hours.

nonmember avatar James

I can kind of see your point, but don't see what the big deal is. I personally don't have kids either but babies are just part of life, sometimes they are going to cry. It is not hurting you to put up with a little noise, just deal with it. Sometimes people need to get off their high horse, and enjoy life.

nonmember avatar anon

Seriously krystian kaufold, you think most children are talking by 8 months old? What delusional world do you live in? Many children are barely rolling over by 8 months old! Do you seriously believe you can take an 8 month old out and if/when they misbehave you'll only have to tell them to stop and they'll listen? Do your future children a favor and don't procreate, you obviously would expect too much from them at too young of an age.

Traci... Traci_Momof2

Babies, toddlers and young kids who don't know how to behave do not belong at fancy restaurants like that.  They just don't.  If you want to go to a restaurant with your baby/child, go to a family restaurant.  If you want to get your kid out in public to teach them how to behave, teach them at Denny's or Applebee's or something of that sort.  Because if I'm spending $200+ a person plus what I'm paying the babysitter for a fancy meal with my DH, no way in hell do I want to listen to your kid all night.  It's rude and selfish to bring babies/toddlers to fancy restaurants.

Movie... Moviebuff

It's very rude.

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