Would It Work Here? Brunch Without Brats!

By Jessica Voelker April 22, 2011 Published in the May 2011 issue of Seattle Met

“Kids don’t pay,” said Dale Levitski, executive chef at Sprout restaurant in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. The Top Chef alum attracted headlines recently when he banned diners under 12 years of age from his weekend brunch service. Levitski says Sprout’s is a boozy brunch, comprised of composed dishes made from fastidiously sourced local ingredients. Plus “the dining room is small. High chairs and strollers would make it impossible to navigate. It’s honestly a fire hazard.” The response? “Overwhelmingly positive. Parents are making reservations because they want away from their kids, and they don’t want to deal with other people’s.”

That wouldn’t fly at Hi Spot Cafe, says Mike Walker, owner of the Madrona brunch institution where crowds of young families vie for five on-site high chairs and Mickey Mouse pancakes are a popular order. A restaurant in his neck of the woods, he says, could never go no-kids without drawing the ire of Madrona Moms, a parenting organization with over 2,000 members. (The Moms recommend services to one another—plumbers, babysitters—on a list serve, and neighborhood merchants joke nervously that they can make or break a business.)

But Spring Hill’s Mark Fuller—who serves a much more adult brunch at his West Seattle storefront—thinks a kid ban could work in Seattle. “It may upset some people, but if what the restaurant delivers at the table is good, I believe Seattle would support it.”

Would he dare ban wee ones from his own eatery? “Probably not.”

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