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Mark Sommelier

Babies/Children in Restaurants (merged topic)

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some people feel that being drivers entitles them to take up 2 lanes on the highway.

Have you been watching me?

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Yes, I'm sure that in other areas of their life the same people find other reasons to feel entitled.

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Are you sure that this is not just a "New York Thing".

The rest of the world seems well mannered, genteel, and concerned with the welfare of others. :wacko:

Does Mrs. Manners appear in the Times, The Post, or Newsday? If not, perhaps a write in campaign would do the trick. She is very helpful in many of these situations and the rest of the world sees her as a guiding light in a sea of darkness. Mrs. Manners may be of some use to you guys in the Big City. :laugh:

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some people feel that being drivers entitles them to take up 2 lanes on the highway.

Have you been watching me?

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

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I've seen Mrs. Manners somewhere, I think in the Daily News. Her etiquette is a little too genteel for rough-and-ready New Yorkers, though. :wink:

Really, though, I don't think the fine points of Mrs. Manners-style etiquette are the issue. As I said, it's having consideration for others that counts. You need to be able to observe some version of Hillel's maxim: Do not do unto others that which you would hate to be done unto you. If everyone just tried his/her best to follow that, how much better would this world be?

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Are you sure that this is not just a "New York Thing".

The rest of the world seems well mannered, genteel, and concerned with the welfare of others.  :wacko:

Does Mrs. Manners appear in the Times, The Post, or Newsday? If not, perhaps a write in campaign would do the trick. She is very helpful in many of these situations and the rest of the world sees her as a guiding light in a sea of darkness. Mrs. Manners may be of some use to you guys in the Big City. :laugh:

I don't think New Yorkers are any more or less likely to be ill-mannered than people anywhere else. The ill-mannered people I observe are my fellow Canadians, and Canadians are stereotypically (and wrongly) considered to be unusually polite.

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The ill-mannered people I observe are my fellow Canadians, and Canadians are stereotypically (and wrongly) considered to be unusually polite.

Dude, you're bursting my bubble with this shit.

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I was treated very nicely in Canada.

Then again, I also find that most New Yorkers are fine, and I've lived here most of my life. There are few places where I didn't find that most people were polite, and I didn't hang out very long in the exceptions!

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Other diners have likely reserved a lot of money for a special night out, and they don't want to hear your kid screaming, even for a second.  They don't need the stress of WORRYING that your kid might start behaving badly and ruin their special night.  It isn't fair to them. 

This is ridiculous -- the idea that I shouldn't bring my well-behaved children to a restaurant because other customers might be worried that they might misbehave. Bad behaviour is inappropriate whether from adults or children -- we all agree. Beyond that I don't see why there should be special rules for children -- I have had more meals disrupted by noisy drunk businessman bragging about themselves than by children. I think restaurants should feel free to throw out disruptive customers whether they are adults or children.

I've also had more meals disrupted because of drunken, noisy adults, than children. Recently in Las Vegas, we dined at a Japanese restaurant. The table behind us was full of loud, obnoxious drunken people who disturbed the whole restaurant. Loud enough that we couldn't talk to each other at our own table without having to raise our voices. The management did nothing about it.

We've been taking our son to higher end restaurants since he was about 7. There was always something on the menu he would eat, and the experience taught him how to behave in nice restaurants. We would quite often when he was that young take a colouring book and crayons to occupy him until the meal arrived. He also finished before us and would colour quietly until we were done. Quite often, he'd give his pictures to the server. I've seen several of his "creations" still hanging in a couple of the kitchens of restaurants we frequent :biggrin: He was never allowed to get down and play on the floor or run around. As he got older, we allowed him to take his game boy (with the sound turned off), if we expecting the meal to be a long one (2-3 hrs). The rule was, he would participate in conversation with us until the appetizers arrived. Once the main course was done (again he usually finishes first), he could play his game boy until we were ready for coffee and dessert.

The benefits of taking him to nicer places since he was young have been that he knows how to act in a restaurant, use the menu, ask questions, order properly and carry on a conversation with adults. He is never shy now when we have adults over. He is able to engage them and look them in the eye without fidgeting. He is also mildly ADD and these strategies have helped tremendously with teaching him to be able to sit in one place for a longer period of time. And I don't mean he's hyperactive, quite the opposite in fact. He just has/had a short attention span. :unsure:

Of course, it perhaps helps that my son is not a rough and tumble boy :biggrin: . He prefers quiet activities to physical ones and maybe that makes a difference, I honestly don't know.

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The ill-mannered people I observe are my fellow Canadians, and Canadians are stereotypically (and wrongly) considered to be unusually polite.

Dude, you're bursting my bubble with this shit.

Well then, may I respectfully suggest you take your bigot asshole offensive racial stereotyping and fuck right off? :biggrin:

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Having just seen this thread, I wanted to take time to fully consider my opinions before responding.

My initial thought was "Hell Yeah!!! Ban all the kids!" Then I thought of all the other people in DC that generally annoy the crap out of me when I'm dining. My main complaints being lobbyists (and wannabes) constantly on cell phones (once I even saw a guy at a restaurant in Bethesda on two different cell phones at the same time) and drunk Congressional staffers. It's really behavior of anyone that needs to be checked. And, yes, I think the same level of decorum is required of all, regardless of age (or even if they are a non-human).

I expect kids and noise in a neighborhood place. I typically judge ethnic restaurants I don't know on the number of families sharing the restaurant's ethnicity I see eating there. I expect something different from higher end places.

In a top end place, I would fully expect the front room manager to discretely squash the disturbance, either by a gentle request to change behavior or removing parties -- BEFORE hearing from other customers. I say before, because I know that many diners would not wish to importune a hard-working staff or appear difficult by complaining. Part of the price you are paying is for the atmosphere.

That said, I am curious if there were any customer complaints at Mark's place and how they were treated. Still reading the thread Mark?

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Other diners have likely reserved a lot of money for a special night out, and they don't want to hear your kid screaming, even for a second.  They don't need the stress of WORRYING that your kid might start behaving badly and ruin their special night.  It isn't fair to them. 

This is ridiculous -- the idea that I shouldn't bring my well-behaved children to a restaurant because other customers might be worried that they might misbehave. Bad behaviour is inappropriate whether from adults or children -- we all agree. Beyond that I don't see why there should be special rules for children -- I have had more meals disrupted by noisy drunk businessman bragging about themselves than by children. I think restaurants should feel free to throw out disruptive customers whether they are adults or children.

I've also had more meals disrupted because of drunken, noisy adults, than children. Recently in Las Vegas, we dined at a Japanese restaurant. The table behind us was full of loud, obnoxious drunken people who disturbed the whole restaurant. Loud enough that we couldn't talk to each other at our own table without having to raise our voices. The management did nothing about it.

We've been taking our son to higher end restaurants since he was about 7. There was always something on the menu he would eat, and the experience taught him how to behave in nice restaurants. We would quite often when he was that young take a colouring book and crayons to occupy him until the meal arrived. He also finished before us and would colour quietly until we were done. Quite often, he'd give his pictures to the server. I've seen several of his "creations" still hanging in a couple of the kitchens of restaurants we frequent :biggrin: He was never allowed to get down and play on the floor or run around. As he got older, we allowed him to take his game boy (with the sound turned off), if we expecting the meal to be a long one (2-3 hrs). The rule was, he would participate in conversation with us until the appetizers arrived. Once the main course was done (again he usually finishes first), he could play his game boy until we were ready for coffee and dessert.

The benefits of taking him to nicer places since he was young have been that he knows how to act in a restaurant, use the menu, ask questions, order properly and carry on a conversation with adults. He is never shy now when we have adults over. He is able to engage them and look them in the eye without fidgeting. He is also mildly ADD and these strategies have helped tremendously with teaching him to be able to sit in one place for a longer period of time. And I don't mean he's hyperactive, quite the opposite in fact. He just has/had a short attention span. :unsure:

Of course, it perhaps helps that my son is not a rough and tumble boy :biggrin: . He prefers quiet activities to physical ones and maybe that makes a difference, I honestly don't know.

The genesis of this thread (and the title) was babies in high end restaurants. Of course older kids should be allowed into, and taken to, restaurants, because presumably, they know what is expected in the way of behavior and it's reasonable to assume they will act accordingly.

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We were seated next to a table of four--2 couples, one of which had an infant in tow. The baby was adorable (it had grown out of the stage where babies look like aliens) and neither my BF or myself had any problem sitting next to it.

I much prefer them in their alien phase.

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Joke! It was a Joke! :shock:

Some of the nicest people I know are New Yorkers. Really. :hmmm:

Come to think of it, some of the rudest most out of touch people that I know are my wife's group of old school friends known collectively at my house as the "New Orleans Uptown Lunch Ladies". They would be the ones with the giant strollers and duffel bag size baby bags in your way in the coffee shop and breaking in line at the grocery store (and then complaining that they can't understand why they can't write a check without ID). :blink:

:laugh:

Now this may be a bit off topic, but I am trying to steer it back to children in Restaurants. Really I am.

I think the real discussion here involves adults, as no children I know have the means or the motive to walk into the French Laundry and tuck into a big hunk of Fois Gras. There seems to have been a shift in the last twenty or so years towards general rudeness in public, based not so much on will but on unawareness. I truly believe that there are a growing number of people in this world who just don't care what anyone else thinks or how their actions affect those around them. This is the primary problem with the "kids in nice rest." discussion. We have guided this discussion ( in a very engaging manner) to a discussion of manners of the children, when I think that the real problem is not with the children, but with the adults themselves.

Anyone with a modicum of good sense knows that, no matter what, you do not take a screaming kid into Citronelle or Commander's Palace (or Popeye's as far as I am concerned, but that's just me). The adults are the people that need to be corrected and reprimanded. The children are just doing what kids do.

I find it interesting that no one has written in with a horror story involving their own children (including myself, but I didn't take them out to eat until they were able to behave well enough to do it). Does this mean that no one here has ever done this? I hope so, but I kind of doubt it. Manners and respect for others is the common issue here, not bad kids. All children behave differently, some better than others, but no child ever chosen to go mess up an evening at Citronelle. The adults took them there and they are the ones that need to be corrected.

Incidentally, I love New York :laugh:

Edited because I can't type (even though I make my living doing it :wacko: ) _

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Here's a horror story concerning my own daughter.

When she was small, and still behaving in a manner that was often but not always predictable, we went to visit my parents.

Background information: my mother is and has always been addicted to the television, and TV golf is her favorite sport.

We had plans to go to a better restaurant, early, so that we could eat in my daughter's likely best time. Unfortunately, the golf program ran over, and my mother had to see it live. Couldn't tape it.

It ran over an hour and a half. By that time, my daughter was way past going to a restaurant. In fact, she was so far gone that the backup plan, having my father take her to McD's while my mother and I went to the restaurant, was also inoperable.

So we all went to McD's.

The horror of it.

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The genesis of this thread (and the title) was babies in high end restaurants. Of course older kids should be allowed into, and taken to, restaurants, because presumably, they know what is expected in the way of behavior and it's reasonable to assume they will act accordingly.

Gee, I guess the thread evolved somewhat :biggrin: As a newborn, I could take Ryan into restaurants and be reasonably assured he would sleep through most of dinner. However, it impacted on me being able to enjoy the experience because I would keep checking on him or worrying that he might wake up. Once he was past the newborn stage, no way. I had one of those kids who never slept and cried 12 hours a day after the first three months. I would have been happy to give him away some days, never mind inflicting him on unsuspecting diners. :biggrin: The responsibility here lies with the parents. The baby cannot control his or her crying etc. The problem is, some parents are just oblivious to their kid's behaviour and how is disrupts others or they wouldn't be there with their baby in the first place.

At Mark's place what I might have done is have a quiet word with the parents, and perhaps offer them a comp (drink or whatever) to come back another time.

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Brooks,

Absolutely, it's the parents who need to be held accountable.

No kids of my own, but I don't think that you will find many "horror stories" from people on this board. For example, the last time I was eating out with an infant was my nephew at a neighborhood place near my house. It was me, my wife, my sister, and her child. We ordered, started eating, he started fussing. My sister took him outside and walked around for a few minutes and came back in to hand him off to my wife who did the same. She returned and handed him off to me. By the time I returned, he was done fussing and everyone had thouroughly enjoyed a very good meal (albeit in shifts).

For older kids, you do need to test them, but you also need to know when to shut down the test. I smile heartily every time I see a parent in a public place say to a misbehaving kid "Shape up or we're going home" and then actually follow through with the threat. There's a special place in parenting hell reserved for those who don't.

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. I smile heartily every time I see a parent in a public place say to a misbehaving kid "Shape up or we're going home" and then actually follow through with the threat. There's a special place in parenting hell reserved for those who don't.

And some already live that hell on earth :biggrin: When Ryan was very young, we would take him grocery shopping. Invariably, he'd start fussing in the cart. One warning, and then one of us would carry him out to the car and the other would finish the shopping. He learned fairly quickly that sitting in the car for half an hour was boring. :biggrin:

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I have very strong opinions on this issue, from the diner's perspective. Children (I will define that as somewhere under the age of 12) do not belong in high end restaurants... PERIOD.

Fifi:

I have to strongly disagree with you. My six-year-old is better behaved than most adults, and has already been to more than a half-dozen high-end restaurants. He has always behaved in an exemplary fashion, earning praise (and desserts!) from staff. And on more than one occasion we have encountered adults who were not nearly as well behaved as our son. We have tried to teach our son to live in a world that is larger than just himself and to think about how his actions affect other people -- something very few adults are able to do.

My son is part of our family. And we actually like him and like being with him. We have always spoken to him about our expectations in advance, dressed him appropriately, planned his day so that he comes to the restaurant well rested, and we keep him involved in the conversation -- be it about the menu, the food, or whatever else we are discussing. So many people take children into a restaurant and expect them to be self-contained and let the adults alone for a while. I wouldn't like it if I were taken to a restaurant and ignored! I'd act out, too.

We are planning a trip soon to New Orleans, and my son will be with us every step of the way -- and I expect he will continue his record of good behavior.

And, while it may not be popular, I can't help but wonder why anyone would think that their experience is more important than mine or my son's.

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Comfort Me, I take it your son enjoys the food in those high end places. Seems like an unusual 6-year-old, and yes, clearly he belongs in those restaurants.

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I smile heartily every time I see a parent in a public place say to a misbehaving kid "Shape up or we're going home" and then actually follow through with the threat. There's a special place in parenting hell reserved for those who don't.

Reminds me of a time when I was about 13. My brother was 11, and sister 8. The entire family was out for Sunday lunch. We weren't at a high-end restaurant; but rather, a cafeteria. After we went through the line and got our meals, we were sitting at our table and the waitress appeared to get our drink order.

We kids liked sugary sodas, of course, which we were NEVER allowed to drink. So the waitress says to us, "And what will you have to drink?" I said, "Root beer." Bro said, "Coca Cola." Sister said, "7-Up."

My dad looked at the waitress and said, "And that'll be three milks."

I distinctly recall my thought process: "We're in a restaurant. A public place. Dad will never make a scene. I'll get my way."

"NO! I don't want milk! I want root beer!"

The other kids' eyes got really wide.

The waitress hesitated.

"She'll have milk," my dad said calmly.

"NO! ROOT BEER! I WANT ROOT BEER!"

Dad stood up and yanked me up by my upper arm and walked me out of the restaurant and threw me into the car.

"You can just wait here until we are finished with our meal," he said.

This particular cafeteria had large picture windows across the front, and our car was pulled right up in front of one of them. So I sat there for what had to be at least an hour and watched my family eat -- Dad lingering leisurely over his coffee.

Believe me, I never tested him in public again.


Edited by Jaymes (log)

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I find it interesting that no one has written in with a horror story involving their own children (including myself, but I didn't take them out to eat until they were able to behave well enough to do it). Does this mean that no one here has ever done this? I hope so, but I kind of doubt it.

You want horror story?? I'll give you one, and these aren't even my kids! Let me start by saying my bil's kids are the best form of contraception ever created. Spend one hour with them, and you'll swear you will never have children. EVER!!

We out to dinner with my BIL, SIL and their 2 kids (now they have 3). It wasn't a fancy place, but still. The kids never sat down. The spawn ran around the entire time, and disturbed other customers. They even helped themselves to the food on strangers' plates. Meanwhile, my lazy-ass sil just sat there doing nothing, saying this is what always happens. My bil tried to pull the kids away, but they just started to scream. When Blovie made a comment (it's his brother's family) the response was "he should keep his opinions to himself since he doesn't have kids"

I was mortified. Blovie went back and left extra money for the tip. And apologized to everyone, because the parents are too boorish to think about that.

All I can say is thank goodness they don't live in NY so we rarely see them.

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Jaymes, that was standard procedure in my family too. Behave, or you sit in the car until mom is finished shopping, or the family is done eating, or whatever. As I recall it only had to happen once, and every time it was threatened afterward we would toe the line.

Now there's a law against leaving your kid in a vehicle unattended.

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Let me start by saying my bil's kids are the best form of contraception ever created. Spend one hour with them, and you'll swear you will never have children. EVER!!

I have a niece like this. :blink:

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