It takes three to make a trend, we’re told. So perhaps it’s premature to wonder if kid bans are the new farm to table (something, please be the new farm to table so that we don’t have to say “farm to table” any more.) Still, with news this morning from WTAE Pittsburgh by way of Eater National that a restaurant in Monroeville, Pennsylvania will no longer serve children under six, you have to wonder: Will we be seeing more baby bans around the country?
“Nothing wrong with babies, but the fact is you can’t control their volume,” the restaurant owner told WTAE. “There may be restaurants that prefer to cater to such things. Not here.”
Earlier this year, Top Chef alum Dale Levitski made headlines when he introduced a kid-free brunch at Sprout in Chicago. I wrote a story asking local restaurants if such a policy would work in Seattle, and an interesting debate sprung up in the comments section.
“I would never eat somewhere that tried this,” wrote Chef’s Wife. “Look, I’m the wife of a chef and a restaurant owner; I get it. But a restaurant doesn’t haven’t to become Chucky [SIC] Cheese. It’s possible to be food-forward and kid-friendly, and I think that’s what Seattle restaurant patrons want.”
Larry had a different take: “It seems many parents (not all) think that just because they popped out a couple kids that it gives them the right to haul them anywhere and ruin other people’s experiences.”
While reporting the article, I asked The Herbfarm’s Carrie Van Dyck to weigh in with her thoughts on kids and fine dining. I did not have the chance to include her remarks in the original story, but they showed up in a Nosh Pit post a few days later.
Van Dyck says it’s about each individual kid and whether or not they can handle the experience, but it seems like other restaurateurs are feeling less tolerant these days. Guess it remains to be seen whether bans will become widespread…and whether they’ll spread all the way here. Meantime, parents, here’s a list from restaurant critic Kathryn Robinson of local restaurants where kids should always be welcome.