Forget Babies, Restaurants Are Now Banning 'Too Many' Kids

You know how kids are when they get to a pizzeria, right? Totally unruly, climbing the curtains, spilling soda everywhere, unable to sit still in their seats for 10 minutes in order to devour every child's favorite food. Well, that's how one upscale pizzeria in New York City views tykes, and the establishment has decided to do something about it: by declaring a "partial ban" on admitting children into its restaurant.

John Kandel, the owner of Bad Horse Pizza, which sells specialty pies with toppings like salmon and goat cheese, recently canceled a reservation for 12 after learning 9 of the guests were children. According to the understandably peeved customer who made the reservation, the owner told him 9 was far too many children to have in the restaurant at once and that they would distract other paying customers. When asked how many children was acceptable, the owner reportedly couldn't answer the question.

Kandel is sticking to his guns and has admitted that customers seeking its candlelit tables don't want to be surrounded by rowdy children who are only going to ruin their dining experience. It sounds like he fears he'll lose money if he sacrifices couples or large parties of adults -- who we all know are going to spend lots of money on alcohol at night -- for families with children.

More From The Stir: Babies Should Be Banned From Fancy Restaurants

As a mom who loves dining out, I guess I should be more offended by this restaurant owner's decision. But I really do understand it. Children -- my toddler included -- can be supremely annoying, especially when you're trying to enjoy a lovely meal out. My problem with this owner's ban isn't the ban itself -- it's the ambiguity of his "rule."

How many children is too many? Should I assume that if I have one baby and want to dine at this pizzeria, it's okay, but if I have four kids, I'll be turned away? Or if I have three kids and one looks like an unruly toddler, I'll be denied food that day?

And what if my children are teens or preteens? Is there a different rule or no rule at all for kids who are actually able to sit still in their seats and eat without dribbling food all over the place? Many teens and tweens are perfectly lovely dining companions, and I feel, as a parent, taking them to a nice restaurant once in a while is a really good thing to do. I still remember my mom treating me to a fancy dinner when I was a teen and teaching me which fork to use with which course and how to properly fold my napkin on my chair when I got up from the table to use the restroom.

If this owner wishes to impose restrictions against children -- which is always going to seem strange considering he makes PIZZA -- it would make a lot more sense to ban children under 18 from admittance after 7 p.m.

And even that doesn't make a whole heck of a lot of sense to me.

What are your thoughts? Should restaurants have the right to ban kids?


Image via Sollina Images/Blend Images/Corbis

activities, behavior, discipline, family, food, in the news, teens, tweens


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Tracys2 Tracys2

I agree that a rule would be helpful. Would I be turned away with 3 kids (9, 7 and 5), who know how to behave in a restaurant? 3 kids for one adult is a lot, but 2 of them are older, and none are babies.

Just for making plans- either having a hard-and-fast rule is good, or waiting till the kids actually do misbehave. Vagueness is challenging.

(as it happens, we almost exclusively attend family restaurants, with the exception of one casual italian place down the road which is run by a family, with a kid in my kid's class, and they seem to love us.)

00NoW... 00NoWay00

It's his restaurant and he can do what he wants, I suppose.  But it would make more sense to have a specific rule ... like the one you mentioned "No kids under 18 years of age after 7pm"

Einyn Einyn

I'm tired of everyone running to the media when they don't get their way. This nation is becoming one of entitled spoiled brats. Parents and kids alike. Restaurants reserve the right to refuse service. It's his business. It's not chuck e cheeses.

mustb... mustbeGRACE

People allow their kids to behave like goats everywhere so everyone pays.

AliPa... AliParker

Kids don't generally bother me in restaurants. I'm usually just glad mine don't act like that, watch the chaos and eat my meal. With that being said I do believe restaurants have the right to ban kids. Even as a mother. It doesn't bother me when eating places just prefer an older, cleaner crowd. But I think it's a bit far to have a minimum or something. Either allow kids or don't. But nonetheless I just take my kids out to eat where I know it's family friendly.


I just wish he had better rules in place to stop all this nonsense.

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

That sounds like a birthday party or something and those tend to get loud. I can't blame him for not wanting that.

Kersten Hackney

Oh whaaaaa. an UPSCALE pizzaria that I am thinking must have a bar since they rfernce adults paying alot for alcohol.  Therfore LOGIC would dictate that it isn't a suitable place for 9 children to be. It is ALSO as somone pointed out, HIS resturant and HE CAN deny service to anyone he chooses. ESPECIALLY with it including a bar I can see perfectly why the owner would not want that many children about when it would be easy enough for the 3 adults from the party of 12 to ignore the kids and go get sloshed. (not saying it would have happened, but it does sometimes)  I'm a mother of a 5 year old.  I would not be offended if an upscale resturant told me not to bring my child.  There is a general rule I follow, if a place does not specificaly have a CHILDREN"S MENU or is not buffet style, I do NOT tak emy kid there.

April... AprilJune

A Boston Pizza turned away my family of 11 that included 4 children because we had children. Where does it end if they start banning kids? I don't agree with it at all. We took our family to Kelsey's and were complimented by the staff on how well behaved our children were, so it's not like we let them run wild.

RoseL... RoseLiMom

what about large families? if you have 5 kids your forbidden to eat there? it is discriminatory and offensive. if a specific group is being out of control, then address them....but not a general ban

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