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Crying Baby at Alinea Prompts the Question If Children Have a Place at High-end Restaurants

Posted on the 16 January 2014 by Real Talk @talkrealdebate2012

Baby YellingA crying baby at a high-end restaurant has been the topic of much discussion both in Chicago, where the 3-Michelin-star restaurant resides, and amongst the nation as the story has garnered national attention.  Recently a couple brought their 8-month-old baby to the 64-seat restaurant because the babysitter for whatever reason couldn’t watch the child.  The baby proceeded to cry throughout the entire dinner which prompted many patrons to complain to management. 

Alinea is rated amongst the best restaurants in the world.  Reservations must be made several months in advance.  Meals cost about $235 per person excluding beverages, tax and gratuity.

Chef Grant Achatz tweeted:

“Tbl brings 8mo.Old. It cries. Diners mad. Tell ppl no kids? Subject diners 2crying? Ppl take infants 2 plays? Concerts? Hate saying no, but…”

While most commentators have sided with the disgruntled patrons, there are many who empathize with the parents.  People pre-pay for their meals at the restaurants.  Tickets are non-refundable; though they can be transferred to others.  Personally I don’t think these parents should have brought the baby to the restaurant.  They should have at the least decided at some point to leave early, in consideration of other patrons.

While I would never pay that absurd amount of money for dinner, to many people this very well could be their only time they can afford to dine at the esteemed restaurant.  Why should their dining experience be tarnished and ruined?  I think it is common-sense and proper decorum that the parents should have been more self-aware of their selfishness.

In addition, I think they could have asked the manager to reschedule their appointment due to their circumstance.  If I had waited for what seemed like forever to have “an experience of a lifetime” only to listen to a crying baby I would not be happy, to put it tamely.

A Dessert Offered at Alinea

This situation reminds me of when parents bring their children to other public events without the consideration of others.  For example, I have had parents bring their infants to late-night showings of movies only to hear their child yell without pause.  NOT COOL PEOPLE.  NOT COOL.

I understand that it must be difficult to raise children.  I am not even advocating that parents closet themselves inside their house until their child goes off to college.  What I am trying to state is that parents need to understand that as a parent they have willingly altered their social lives.  They must now make accommodations within the construct of their new family structure.  I’m sorry but if you decide to have children you have to understand that you will not be able to do what you want whenever you want.  There are certain sacrifices you are signing up for when you have children.  It’s the truth, whether parents accept it or not.

If I were to go to Olive Garden or another family oriented restaurant then I think I wouldn’t have as much of a problem with what happened.  It’s the fact that these people paid $500 for a superb dining experience only to be besmirched by the actions of a few others.  Not all public areas are appropriate for young children.

What do you think?

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate

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