Upscale Dining: A Place For Children?

Susan says…

To make our lunches more interesting, we try to have a discussion topic ready for lunch when the Fork You Crew dines together.  Sometimes each person comes with an idea, sometimes topics simply emerge, and we’ve even had handouts before.  This week, the issue of kids’ menus at upscale restaurants was tossed around.

I have been to some restaurants that do not have kids’ menus.  That may be to discourage children or it could be to boost revenue by forcing parents to shell out for higher priced standard meals.  In every case but one, I agree the restaurant really was not a place for young children.  The exception: The Cheesecake Factory.  But it’s not even upscale so they must be angling for higher check totals by eliminating kids’ portions.

I took my children to an expensive steak house in a larger city during vacation.  They were 7 and 9 at the time.  We were seated in the upper level away from the majority of the crowd.  They were old enough not to throw a temper tantrum during the meal, but I was not offended by the segregation.  Vacation meals pose a problem because you are unable to hire a sitter to stay with your children while you go out for a nice meal. 

Personally, if I am out at a nice place where I expect to drop a C-note for dinner for two, I don’t want the soundtrack of the evening to be someone’s noisy kid.  Or kids that get out of their chairs and walk around the place.  If the children are old enough to sit there like the adults and be quiet, then that’s a different story.   Places I would not take small children around Charleston: Chop House, Lawry’s, South Hills Market & Cafe, and Aubrey’s. 

How do you feel?  Do you take your kids everywhere?  Does it bother you when your quiet evening is interrupted by a crying baby?  Do you think the absence of a kids’ menu is the restaurant’s way of saying kids aren’t welcome?

10 responses to “Upscale Dining: A Place For Children?

  1. I personally would not expect to see (or hear) children at a restaurant where I hope to have a nice, quiet dinner in an intimate setting. There are reasons other than just the food as to why people choose to go to certain places. And the fact that they won’t be subjected to the noise, etc. of small children is probably one of the big reasons.

    Susan, I think I would have been a little p.o.’d that I was segregated from the rest of the diners when you had your seven and nine-year-olds in tow. Now if I had a rowdy two-year-old with me, I’d understand. Though, I probably wouldn’t have gone there with a two-year-old to begin with.

  2. CCF has recenetly added a kid’s menu to some of their restaurants. The one at Easton in Columbus provides menus for the kiddos. And my just turned 4 year old DOES NOT go to nicer establishments with us. If I’m shelling $$$ for a nice meal I’d perfer not to have to cut up someone’s chicken!

  3. Ashley-
    Good point about quietness being a reason for choosing an upscale place, in addition to the food.

    I am so glad to hear about kids’ choices at the Easton CCF because that is the one I visit most often.

  4. Ashley- The sound level is how I decide which restaurants I take my kids to. If the noise in the restaurant will drown out any unruly behavior or loud talking (since neither my 4 nor 2 year old has an inkling on what an inside voice is), then I consider it kid appropriate.

    Kim- I completely agree…If I am spending $$$ on a meal, I would like to relax and enjoy the meal myself. Not have to worry about cutting up food, scarfing down my food wondering when one of the kids will be finished and ready to leave, or how much food is on the floor.

    Taking small kids to an upscale restaurant is too stressful for me and I wouldn’t enjoy myself at all. And if my kids aren’t there…I certainly don’t want to listen to other ones!

  5. It’s a free country. Vitoria and Albert’s has this new policy – Guests ages 10 and above are invited to dine at this establishment.

  6. Its not the kids fault generally in all, but the fact that people these days let there little monsters run rampant and do or say nothing about it. Leave the kids at home or stick to family friendly places, most upscale places are unappetizing for children anyways.

  7. I have watched over the years as people bring younger and younger children to restaurants. At times the kids have been well behaved and even polite and at other times I have watched as the little hellions have created havoc that both parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and even strangers haven’t been able to rein in. Children that scream, run through the restaurant unaccompanied, throw things from the table even punch waitstaff have become the norm it seems. Now I am not a parent but I have been in food service for a while and trust me you are not endearing yourself to the people that serve your food by letting your kids run the table. Please DO NOT bring your child to any restaurant that does not have a cartoon spokesperson or a kids menu and if you have to bring them along PLEASE be parents and teach them manners.

  8. I had the joy of going to dinner with my boyfriend the other night and ended up with dinner and a show; not to mention found one contestant for the “mother of the year” award. Although this was not an upscale restaurant, just a very good local (Chattanooga, TN) mexican place, I was appalled at a 4 or 5 year old girls behavior. While the mother simply sat in her booth eating her meal and checking her phone, the child turned the restaurant into her own personal playground. She climbed from booth to booth, ON the table tops, and even across booth benches with customers sitting in them! Good ole mom never even budged, looked up, or said a word, and this went on for the entire 45 minutes we were there. Thank god we weren’t sitting in their section because that kid would’ve gotten an earful from me and I might have punched the mother. Who lets their child behave like that in public? When I was little I KNEW better than to step a toe out of line and embarrass my parents. I wouldn’t have lived to regret it.

  9. I would think the same rule would apply regardless of the age, Be Well Behaved.
    I wouldn’t want loud, rude, children/adults at the restaurant.

  10. If parents would teach their kids to behave in public, children in restaurants wouldn’t be a problem and you wouldn’t have posted this.
    Unfortunately, parents these days generally act just like the irresponsible children misbehaving children they are raising.
    I took my children to restaurant from the time they were infants on. They were never a problem to anyone. On the rare occasions when they did cry as infants, they were immediately removed from the premises. Responsible parents do not let their children intrude on other people’s serenity.
    Sometimes I just want to slap the snot outta some of the parents I see these days.

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