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Babies in multi-belled restaurants?


michaelklein
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I am almost loathe to mention this, but are we certain it wasn't Chef Garces new baby in the restaurant?  He and his wife had a son not too long ago, so it's possible the baby was "staff", so to speak.  :unsure:

Wasn't Jose, whom I know. In fact, I brought up the issue when he stopped at my table. He basically shrugged.

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I am almost loathe to mention this, but are we certain it wasn't Chef Garces new baby in the restaurant?  He and his wife had a son not too long ago, so it's possible the baby was "staff", so to speak.  :unsure:

Wasn't Jose, whom I know. In fact, I brought up the issue when he stopped at my table. He basically shrugged.

Read the account in the link. "After my meal, I was getting up. The father, holding the baby in the narrow aisle, met my eyes with a smile and asked how my dinner was." Talk about leading with your chin....

Speaking as a pleased parent of two children (now teenagers -- one a waiter) I still don't understand the parental urge to share the joy of their offspring with strangers and casual acquaintances. And I have been called a bad father on this board for suggesting that dining with my children is not the world's greatest joy, but I would have sooner slashed my wrists than hauled my 9-month-old monster to a nice dinner when I had a chance to spend the night alone with my wife.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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OK. I wasn't suggesting that Jose would let his baby scream in the restaurant, only pointing out that he has a brand spanking new baby fresh out of the wrapper too, and there was a slim chance he was visiting his daddy at work.

Bummer about your dinner being spoiled, Mike. I have to agree with you about not bringing the little darlings somewhere that's not appropriate.

On the flip side, I've seen a hell of a lot more loud/disruptive/badly behaved adults in restaurants than I have babies. :raz:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok... well, this former Philly foodie is headed back to her beloved city for a week in July, with husband and 5- month- old son in tow. No, I can't get a sitter. And yes, I must experience the best Philly now has to offer. SO--where can I go, without pissing too many people off? Who will actually be welcoming? We're willing to dine at off-times, but can't promise not to bring a stroller with us, and when my kid wants it, I do breastfeed him (here in Madison it's illegal to give anyone a hard time for doing that).

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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Ok... well, this former Philly foodie is headed back to her beloved city for a week in July, with husband and 5- month- old son in tow. No, I can't get a sitter. And yes, I must experience the best Philly now has to offer. SO--where can I go, without pissing too many people off?  Who will actually be welcoming? We're willing to dine at off-times, but can't promise not to bring a stroller with us, and when my kid wants it, I do breastfeed him (here in Madison it's illegal to give anyone a hard time for doing that).

I'm just curious. If "the best Philadelphia has to offer" could be ranked on a scale of silence and time spent sitting still in a hushed and formal environment, with one being Pat's (or whatever Rich prefers) and ten as Le Bec Fin (or whatever Katie chooses) and five is a up-scale ethnic or quality BYOB, what level of potential hassle to yourself, your child and the other patrons you are willing to incur?

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Charles, you flatter me. Le Bec would not be high on my list of places to bring an infant.

I think some BYO's would be flexible for a baby that was well behaved (read: asleep the whole time) as well as some other options for places sporting a liquor license. I'd certainly welcome Sara and spawn to M, as long as the understanding that a crying babe needs to be dealt with forthwith was in effect. Certainly if weather were permitting a seat outside in our lovely courtyard should be conducive to both mama and babe having a pleasant stay. Sara, feel free to PM me for advice if you feel you need it.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Ok... well, this former Philly foodie is headed back to her beloved city for a week in July, with husband and 5- month- old son in tow. No, I can't get a sitter. And yes, I must experience the best Philly now has to offer. SO--where can I go, without pissing too many people off?  Who will actually be welcoming? We're willing to dine at off-times, but can't promise not to bring a stroller with us, and when my kid wants it, I do breastfeed him (here in Madison it's illegal to give anyone a hard time for doing that).

Philadelphia's current "It" restaurant, Osteria, just opened a courtyard space that should be a good option.

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sara...

we tend to stick to small ethnic joint s (like mexican on washington - garibaldi/veracruzana), chinatown, mikado in cherey hill, some neighborhood places in fairmount (that are pretty family friendly) etc.. aldso anywhere that has outdoor seating out front (not a courtyard) is good cause if we need to let my son stretch his legs we won't bother anyone (ie: sabrina's, radicchio).

when my son was that age (he's 17 month and a ball of enrgy now so we are limited to at MOST above) we got to go to a few nicer places cause he slept in his car seat everywhere. But we still stuck to not too fancy or off times (like branzino for an early dinenr, matyson at lunch, etc..). Also i tended to stick to places that had highchairs (i asked when i called because i could rest his car seat in it (when flipped over) and i flet like if they didn't have a highchair they really didn't want kids there.

I don't think le bec (or tinto for that matter) would have been wise choices, but i'm sure that some people i nthe restaurants we did frequent probably thought he shouldn't be there (even when he was alseep you will always get one or 2 rude stares).

i know greg at rx tells me how family friendly his place is so we've been menaing to get back there once my son decides to sit down for 3 minutes :raz:

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Hi Sara,

I had refrained from responding to this thread for a while because it got very kid unfriendly very fast and I will reiterate that I have had far more expensive meals ruined by adults with no manners than by babies.

Number one rule for parents is that you know your own baby or child, plan accordingly and be ready to bail when it is needed. We took our first son to restaurants when on vacation being careful to dine early or once very late when baby was asleep in his stroller and the restaurant was near empty and to choose noisy lively places. For example in Philly I think that you stand a chance at a place like Amada. That is one loud restaurant. If your baby begins to wail you must be prepared to wisk them out of the dining room and not return until calm has been restored.

We have had some wonderful servers who have done things to appease baby, and once at a lobster pound in Maine our wonderful waitress took a walk with baby to allow me to eat.

We knew our own and our kids' limitations. We could not handle toddler and preschooler at anything other than Chinese or similar ethnic restaurants and spent years not going out to eat much. We brought a sitter with us on vacation a couple of times so we could play all day with the kids and go out at night together as a couple.

My advice is to choose your times carefully for baby and choose restaurants carefully as well. For you a high decibel level is your friend. A larger, roomier space is also better. Outdoor space as mentioned is also good.

Dont rule out sitting services while on vacation. We used one in New York City many times, baby sitters guild, and we got a sitter twice in Hawaii through our hotel.

Jennifer

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i know greg at rx tells me how family friendly his place is so we've been menaing to get back there once my son decides to sit down for 3 minutes :raz:

This is a very good suggestion. When I was last at Rx a month or so ago, Greg specifically mentioned that he's happy to have families in there (this'll soon be an issue for us as well). And it's the sort of casual place where people wouldn't get all clenched at the sight of a nipper.

If I remember right, Sara, you liked Rx a lot when you lived here, and the food is as good as it ever was. So not a new, hot place; but an old favorite...

Edited by Andrew Fenton (log)
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In the best case, yout child sleeps through the meal. In the worst, you and your family are miserable, inflict the suffering on everyone around, then get to pay for the privilege The most enjoyable restaurant experience we had when my oldest was under a year was at La Stanza in South Philly, and for that we brought an Exersaucer. We lived in the neighborhood, were regulars before he was born, and went around 5:00. One of the worst was at Cucina Forte, where the boy flipped out and we took turns walking him up and down 8th street while the other ate. Not fun. It is a bad idea to bring very young ones to any small fine dining establishment. Get a sitter. If you can't get a sitter, stay home.

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A 9 month-old screaming child is, by its nature, audibly disturbing to those within earshot.

Yeah, but you're begging the question here. No one is going to disagree with you that a *screaming* 9 month old child is a disruption that should not be visited on other diners. But not all babies are the same. [...]

The funny thing is, you still get looks from people no matter how the kid behaves. People are just ITCHING to be irritated by a baby. If you ask me, I've had a lot of restaurant table neighbors (for lack of a better term) that I would have traded for a crying baby in a heartbeat. As long as the parents are attentive, the kid is docile and the restaurant isn't completely inappropriate, I don't have any problem with it. I can deal with the occasional baby flare-up a lot easier than a table full of 40 something women opening sex toys and cackling at the top of their lungs. And yes, I have experienced both.

[...]

If a guy goes to a bar, has some drinks, has a good time and handles himself well, then he can stay as long as he wants. Same thing with a kid. Long story short, a kid is a customer too. If they get disruptive, then they should be asked to leave, just like anyone else.

Well said Tim!

Babies can be loud even when not screaming, but I think a happily chirping and happily squealing baby has a right to be so in a noisy restaurant where the adults are doing the same. There is a difference between a quiet restaurant and a boisterous restaurant.

I'm sure that none of you experience this often, but I get treated to my share of young children fairly frequently on the Route 109 bus. (It's obviously a class thing: they're as infrequent on Regional Rail as they are common on the bus.) Somehow, the squeal of a happy infant or toddler exploring his/her world gladdens me no end, while the caterwauling of an upset child -- which is a blessedly rare event, even on public transport -- is worse than fingernails on chalkboard.

That's not to say that I'd want to hear either of them at the Fountain Room, though at a more "casual" fine dining establishment, I wouldn't mind hearing the happy kid at all -- he or she would complement the happy voices in the lower registers. For instance, I think a happy, well behaved young child wouldn't be out of place at all at Mercato, which spills out onto Spruce Street all the time anyway.

Pardon this verbose "me too," but context is everything here. And a parent who brings in a young child who ceases to behave well and does nothing to correct the situation is worse than the child.

These days, not only is dining out a regular thing... it's also the age of "attachment parenting" and "helicopter parents."  (That's right, I watch the Today Show) The Tinto scenario is symptomatic of a bigger issue.  My parents would leave me with the first 15 year-old that agreed to give up her Friday night.  And, they would probably be the first to say I turned out okay. 

I'm all for giving kids an experience to remember... but really, a 9 month-old? Will he remember anything more than hearing the stories of the time Daddy had to walk up and down 20th street with him as a shreiking baby?  Give yourself a night off!

You don't have to watch Today to find out about these things, though you learn about them faster that way. I can see examples of similar behavior in the advice columns in the daily newspapers. (And FTR, I do watch Today every morning.)

You're probably right that a 9-month-old is probably too young for a restaurant experience of any kind, but there are places where the infant can be accommodated better, some of which serve real food.

Aside: I have this vague recollection that you live in or near my apartment building. Or am I hallucinating?

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Number one rule for parents is that you know your own baby or child, plan accordingly and be ready to bail when it is needed.

Well said, chowfun. Sara, you seem as if you have common sense. The problem with babies in restaurants is largely because of folks who do not.

(Count me in as charmed by a happy baby, not so much by the general shrieking and yelling-instead-of-talking habits of a subset of tipsy twenty-somethings.)

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  • 5 weeks later...

Bumping up this thread with a very pleasant experience we had last night.

We joined several neighbors last night, among them a family with twin 4 year olds, at a nice but clearly not a multi-bell restaurant. As we have noticed their willingness to discipline the children (almost unheard of around here btw) I fully expected to dine without incident.

Not only were there no incidents, but these parents planned the outing to perfection. They put the kids down for a short nap in the afternoon and brought an array of books, crayons and stickers to keep the kids amused. They were totally engaged the entire evening and an absolute pleasure to be around.

It seems like any parent can do this but most prefer not to as it requires effort and a degree of planning. I have no doubt the same result would have been achieved had we been in Le Bec or any other fine dining establishment.

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We had a great time at, among other places, Tinto, DiBruno's, Fuji Mountain, Monk's, Four Rivers, Sang Kee, Gayle, Carman's, and Capogiro. The single most outstanding thing we ate: DiNic's roast beef sandwich. Our kid grinned as jus ran down Mommy's face.

The fear we felt as a result of this thread was unwarranted-- go forth, parents & babies, and eat well. You deserve it.

Edited by sara (log)

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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Do you have kids? I just wonder, because seriously, if you think poor planning or poor parenting accounts for even a meaningful portion of kids' 'acting out'--be it crying, screaming, or anything else, then I just have to think you haven't got one of your own. My 5-month-old son cries sometimes because he's just learned he can--and wants to see how loud he can go. We are the consummate planners, and do all we can, exerting more effort than I care to admit-- but results are never consistent nor predictable when it comes to babies.

That said, very glad your friends' kids behaved so you could enjoy your meal. And more importantly, I'm happy the kids' parents got to eat--lord knows, it probably doesn't happen often for them.

Bumping up this thread with a very pleasant experience we had last night.

We joined several neighbors last night, among them a family with twin 4 year olds, at a nice but clearly not a multi-bell restaurant. As we have noticed their willingness to discipline the children (almost unheard of around here btw) I fully expected to dine without incident.

Not only were there no incidents, but these parents planned the outing to perfection. They put the kids down for a short nap in the afternoon and brought an array of books, crayons and stickers to keep the kids amused. They were totally engaged the entire evening and an absolute pleasure to be around.

It seems like any parent can do this but most prefer not to as it requires effort and a degree of planning. I have no doubt the same result would have been achieved had we been in Le Bec or any other fine dining establishment.

Edited by sara (log)

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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Do you have kids? I just wonder, because seriously, if you think poor planning or poor parenting accounts for even a meaningful portion of kids' 'acting out'--be it crying, screaming, or anything else, then I just have to think you haven't got one of your own.  My 5-month-old son cries sometimes because he's just learned he can--and wants to see how loud he can go.  We are the consummate planners, and do all we can, exerting more effort than I care to admit-- but results are never consistent nor predictable when it comes to babies.

That said, very glad your friends' kids behaved so you could enjoy your meal. And more importantly, I'm happy the kids' parents got to eat--lord knows, it probably doesn't happen often for them.

Yes, two daughters 20 and almost 22 and I still do maintain that a large percentage of parents fail to plan dining outings with young children or worse, don't care if their kids disrupt others diners.

A 5 month old is really different from twin 4 year old twins. Your 5 month old is not quite ready to learn how to behave in a restuarant and it's probably a crapshoot each time you take him out as to whether he behaves or not.

As I mentioned on another thread, we would immediately take one or both girls out of the place at the first sign of a problem. Once or twice we had to leave but usually they calmed down after a walk. You seem to be one of those parents too and that's good for everyone.

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There are many baby and child intolerant people in this world.  I guess they dont remember their own beginnings. 

As a matter of fact, I DO remember my own beginnings. And that's exactly why we hired babysitters for our three children when they were toddlers and my husband and I had planned an adult evening out, either as a couple, or with our other adult friends.

And since indeed I do remember that when I was a toddler my parents either took us to a family-style restaurant or left us with sitters, and since I also remember that I did the exact same with my children, I really resent being subjected to the ill-mannered children of others that are not so considerate.

One does have choices, you know. If you are afraid of some sort of babysitter horror story, fine. Don't get one. Either trade off babysitting chores with another friend, neighbor or relative.

Or go to a family-style restaurant.

Or stay home until your children are old enough to properly behave.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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There are many baby and child intolerant people in this world.  I guess they dont remember their own beginnings. 

As a matter of fact, I DO remember my own beginnings. And that's exactly why we hired babysitters for our three children when they were toddlers and my husband and I had planned an adult evening out, either as a couple, or with our other adult friends.

And since indeed I do remember that when I was a toddler my parents either took us to a family-style restaurant or left us with sitters, and since I also remember that I did the exact same with my children, I really resent being subjected to the ill-mannered children of others that are not so considerate.

One does have choices, you know. If you are afraid of some sort of babysitter horror story, fine. Don't get one. Either trade off babysitting chores with another friend, neighbor or relative.

Or go to a family-style restaurant.

Or stay home until your children are old enough to properly behave.

Just how often is this happening to everyone? Am I so lucky with dinner planning that although everyone else is being subjected to loud babies and ill-mannered parents, I cant remember the last upscale restaurant dinner that was ruined for me by a child?

What I meant about the child intolerant comment is that all one has to do sometimes is walk into a restaurant, hotel or airplane with a baby or child who is not making a scene and be subjected to the evil eye or even worse, loud complaining by another patron.

We recently had dinner with a group from work at 707 restaurant with a 6 month old baby. Not a multibelled restaurant but a sophisticated adult setting. She was an angel, not a peep out of her, all smiles. The adults in the group were a little loud, we were having cocktails, saying goodbye to a colleague and getting a little happy. No one complained about us grownups.

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I really resent being subjected to the ill-mannered children of others that are not so considerate.

One does have choices, you know.  If you are afraid of some sort of babysitter horror story, fine.  Don't get one.  Either trade off babysitting chores with another friend, neighbor or relative.

Or go to a family-style restaurant.

Or stay home until your children are old enough to properly behave.

Wow, Jaymes. You sound pretty angry, and rather intolerant. You have my sympathy. Please don't define inconsiderate people as those with children. No doubt there are plenty of non-parents worthy of your scorn as well. In my life, many more adults have ruined a meal than children.

Thanks for your list of options, but my wife, my son, and I aren't "staying home." We have a 5-month-old and, in fact, recently visited Philly on a 6-day-long business trip. We had to eat out at some point and "trading off babysitting chores" wasn't an option as we live in Madison, Wisconsin. Although it was pretty hot the early part of last week and walking the streets those days wasn't a whole lot of fun, we had to leave the hotel for meals at some point, although I'm guessing you would have preferred that we never left our hotel room in the event that my son might cry once or twice. Please note that downtown Philly doesn't seem to have a whole lot of "family-style restaurants," so that wasn't a very good option either, although takeout sushi did get the job done a couple of evenings. Fortunately, we didn't run into the Intolerance Patrol anywhere (must be down the shore for July) and managed to have a really pleasurable time with our little guy dining out everywhere from Tinto to DeNick's at the Reading Terminal Market. Jaymes, you can breathe a huge sigh of relief because I don't think any diners were disturbed at any establishment we visited. Imagine that! I guess this means that our five-month-old is "old enough to properly behave" although all the baby books say that this isn't a skill they can learn by this stage of development. Hmmm. Quite the riddle wrapped up in a baby blanket.

Liam

Eat it, eat it

If it's gettin' cold, reheat it

Have a big dinner, have a light snack

If you don't like it, you can't send it back

Just eat it -- Weird Al Yankovic

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I think most people are perfectly happy to have children of any age dining nearby, as long as they're not being disruptive, and I don't think most people find a little noise especially disruptive. And while it's true enough that adults can be annoying on their own, I rarely find them shrieking or running around or throwing stuff... And sure, most parents display the courtesy to take an upset or misbehaving child out for a walk or something, but there is a certain syndrome that I suspect is raising most people's hackles.

A few years ago I was at a not-especially-fancy restaurant, and ended up with a baby at a table behind me, only a couple of feet away. He was fine for most of the meal, but at some point began screaming at the top of his lungs. I mean, ear-piercing, actually physically-painful sound levels. Right in my ear. And it just went on and on... after a few minutes, my father made some general expression of disgust, and it was amazing to see the lights go on in the baby's parents' eyes.

I don't think they were being jerks, at least not on purpose, I think they'd just gotten so used to this sound that it didn't occur to them that it might be causing permanent hearing damage to those around them, and even if not, it might not be the most polite thing to subject strangers to.

I'm sure we wouldn't have cared at all if the baby screamed, and a parent hopped up and calmed the child, or took him for a quick walk outside, whatever... But it was incredible to watch them sit there oblivious, as our glassware was in imminent danger of shattering from the soundwaves.

I've eaten with little kids in nice restaurants, and I've seen the looks of trepidation, even scorn, but those attitudes tend to soften, even turn to admiration when the kids behave.

So I personally have no problem seeing a child of any age in a restaurant, but if anyone at your table, be it an infant, a toddler, a teen or a parent, starts throwing a loud tantrum, do something about it! Be aware that you might have a higher tolerance for certain noise and behavior than others do. And whether it's a baby crying or Uncle Bob arguing that Elvis is TOO alive, try to be aware that you might be interfering with other customers, and cut it out!

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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in jaymes' defense he said "..being subjected to ill mannered children"

liam, your child hardly sounds ill mannered.

i think what people object to, myself included and yes i have two of my own, are parents who are oblivious to the fact that their little angels are anything but....

no one i know minds eating in a restaurant with children present if their well behaved.

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in jaymes' defense he said "..being subjected to ill mannered children"

liam, your child hardly sounds ill mannered.

i think what people object to, myself included and yes i have two of my own, are parents who are oblivious to the fact that their little angels are anything but....

no one i know minds eating in a restaurant with children present if their well behaved.

Now that was perfectly put and there are so many parents like that out there it makes me fear for the future...but alas another thread

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