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News Fri Jun 24 2011

Are the Kids Alright?

kids.jpgThe Reader's Best of Chicago issue this week included a "Best [restaurant] for kids" honor, which went to Lakeview's Frasca Pizzeria and Wine Bar; runners-up were Wishbone, Ed Debevic's and Rainforest Cafe, but an honorable mention went to kids "[being] locked in a cold, dark, soundproof room," a groanworthy suggestion that is generating a lot of heat in the comments section, particularly from parents. "The Reader is not for me," one commenter wrote, "when the editors of a otherwise reasonable publication fantasize about the abuse and murder of his child." Oy. One upset parent who contacted GB wants the paper to apologize. Double Oy.

Back in 2005, Dan McCauley, the owner of the Andersonville bakery A Taste of Heaven came under scrutiny for a posted sign that read "children of all ages have to behave and use their indoor voices" in his cafe. A boycott from neighborhood parents and load of publicity followed. The hubbub quieted down, but the sign is still there, and the restaurant survived the criticism. Digs aside, are we still living in a city that finds kids in restaurants annoying?

renita / June 24, 2011 10:05 AM

Can't speak for anyone else, but I find ANNOYING kids in restaurants annoying. There are plenty of good ones out there. It's not unreasonable to expect kids in nicer restaurants to behave and speak more quietly.

r / June 24, 2011 10:34 AM

I must be really good at zoning out kids in restaurants, because I'm never really bothered by screaming or whatnot.

I *will* say this, however; if you are bringing young kids who are still learning the ropes of common courtesy, OVERTIP LIKE A MOFO. One time I went out to eat with a friend and her two kids, who were young and full of energy--and they tossed food all over the floor and table. When we left, she paid (it was her treat for me babysitting for her that day), she left a disgustingly small tip, given that the staff would have to haul out a vacuum cleaner to make our table presentable again to the next diners. I quietly reached into my wallet, took out several more bucks and left it on the table.

Texas T / June 24, 2011 2:00 PM

I'm always afraid to enter a nice restaurant with my child, since I know that some of the patrons will immediately think kid = screaming. I lucked out and have a well-behaved 3 y.o. and take him out to dinner with no problems. No screaming, no crying, but a little messy (but probably not as messy as my husband! ;).

I always opt for the patio seating (great distractions for the kid) or going a bit earlier in the evening. Normally by the time we leave, the adults are the ones making all the racket.

And yes, I always tip the waiters well!

sarah / June 24, 2011 5:26 PM

I think it's okay to bring a child to a restaurant only if the parent is willing to immediately remove the child from the restaurant if he/she starts screaming/crying etc. Otherwise it's really not fair to the other people there. To me, it's the same as talking on cell phones in public places. If you are making noise, and you are in a place where other people cannot get away from you, that's rude.

SFW / June 24, 2011 7:42 PM

My boys are were toddlers when A Taste of Heaven put the sign up. Now they're 5 and 6, and I am still afraid to take them there!

Edster / June 24, 2011 9:34 PM

It's some of the parents that are the most annoying thing. Parents should take your kid out to eat as long as you have taught them to sit at a table and eat at home. I had a cousin that always had his kid eat in front of the tv all the time, allowing the kid to run around and play and stop to eat small bites and was then confused as to why he couldn't sit still in a restaurant, wtf? It's not the kid's fault if you never taught them how and being angry that other people are annoyed is just blaming others for your failure.

P.S., There needs to be a size limit on strollers in store/restaurants/any indoor space.

SARAH / June 25, 2011 9:35 AM

SFW, If I had little kids, I wouldn't take them to Taste of Heaven either, but I also wouldn't complain about that. Little kids are too impulsive to be calm and quiet all the time. That's normal, but not everyone wants to be around that, which is understandable. Personally, I like kids, but really, really do not want to listen to them scream while I'm out trying to enjoy a coffee or a meal.

shechemist / June 25, 2011 2:26 PM

I have taken two of my kids to Taste of Heaven with no fanfare or gruff, so lets lay off Taste of Heaven.

I have three kids that range from 5 to 10 month and we manage to eat out with them about once a week. We are just careful about the venue (lunch at our favorite taco place, or dinner some place super casual) and we over tip like crazy.

When we do go out for an adult meal, other people's kids don't bug me. I'm usually so fucking happy that I am able to have an uninterrupted conversation with another adult, while eating food I didn't have to prepare, other kids don't even hit my radar.

Mike / June 27, 2011 12:26 PM

It's called a sense of humor. Parents, of all people, should know what it takes to have one.

Mike / June 29, 2011 11:09 PM

What offends me is the stuck-up parents who get all upset when someone suggests that they _may_ need to exercise control over their screaming brats. Not everyone is willing to fawn over your precious little spawn while they sing/yodel nonsense rhymes and throw spaghetti on the floor at the table next door. From their self-involved commentary it's clear they think our world should revolve around them and their get. When you made a choice to bring a crying, red-faced gremlin into the world, you lost your fancy restaurant privileges until they get old enough to know not to yell and throw stuff at the table. Don't like it, then eat at McDonalds.

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