A growing number of restaurants are adding kids to the no shirt, no shoes, no service signs. Minor diners simply aren't welcome.
Occasionally, well-publicized cases will come up, like Old Fisherman's Grotto in Monterey, California, which put up a sign saying strollers, high chairs and booster seats are banned from the restaurant. That essentially bans the kids who would use them as well.
"Children crying or making loud noises are a distraction to other diners, and as such are not allowed in the dining room," the sign bluntly states.
Heaven knows a fussy baby or ill-behaved child can ruin a meal. But another restaurant tries to pretend kids aren't the cause -- parents are.
The Sushi Bar in Del Ray, Virginia, spins its kiddie ban by saying parents need a break from anyone under 18.
"We thought, 'These poor parents -- they’re helicopter parents, God love ’em -- they’re always doing this and that with their kids, and we thought, they need a break.' Not so much a break from their kids, but adjoining kids," owner Mike Anderson told the Today show.
These aren't isolated cases; it's happening worldwide. Quartz points out a movement of sorts -- no strollers at restaurants in Berlin, Korean eateries closed to children. A Chicago chef who tweeted about a crying baby at his top restaurant faced both a torrent of criticism and support.
It's a hard question for a restaurateur. You want to be sensitive to families' needs -- and mindful that spending time together and having kids learn to behave in public is a good thing all around. But there will always be permissive parents who don't think of other diners and would never admit Junior is causing problems. And that's not fair to other diners.
For now, it seems more and more restaurants are siding with a kid-free dining experience.