Babies in restaurants – it’s a hoary old chestnut that has reared its ugly baby-hating head again now that a famed American chef has posed the question about whether babies should be banned in them.

Grant Achatz, of the Michelin starred, $200-plus-a-head Alinea restaurant in Chicago had parents bring an 8 month-old baby to his restaurant, and when the baby started crying, the other diners got mad.

But what?

Alinea is a special dining experience with an international reputation – you buy non-refundable tickets at either US$200 or US$265 for tasting menus (not inclusive of tips, tax, or beverages) up to three months in advance, and you enter a kind of gourmet wonderland when you arrive.

The parents of the screaming child (who by now must be feeling really, really terrible) say their babysitter cancelled at the last minute.

But shouldn’t they be able to take their baby anywhere?

Or should a special destination restaurant – that costs big bucks – be devoid of crying children? Does paying more money mean you are inoculated against life’s annoyances?

We’ve all been stuck on planes with crying kids – or been stuck with our own – and it’s almost always worse for the parents.

In the twittersphere, all sorts of opinions came flooding in, from the idea that all annoying patrons should be banned (not just babies), that babies should be allowed everywhere, that they should be banned from aeroplanes and movie theatres as well, that parents should just take unruly kids outside if they misbehave; that going to a restaurant should not be compared to going to a concert.

There was also discussion about cultural elements – in France for example, kids are everywhere in restaurants; in America, it is much more frowned upon.

Would you eat at a restaurant that banned children? Would you complain if you sat next to a crying baby, or, while we’re at it, a kid playing a very loud game without earphones?

Should parents of babies restrict their movements?

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