Earlier this month Alinea chef Grant Achatz sparked a minor controversy in the fine dining world when he Tweeted that he's considering banning babies from his very expensive restaurant after a couple brought their eight month old infant to dinner.
"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..," the chef Tweeted.
"I could hear it crying in the kitchen," Achatz told Good Morning America.
We asked Patch readers what they thought. The vast majority had little sympathy for the couple. Here’s a sampling of comments:
MrsSmith wrote on Evanston Patch: "Alinea … is an experience. … The fact of the matter is that a lot of people are paying a lot of money to go there and don't want to listen to crying kids during what is possibly a once-in-a-lifetime meal. There are no highchairs, no kids menu, etc. It is not kid-friendly in any way. Surely, the parents knew this going in."
Evie was more blunt. She wrote: “If you can afford $600/couple for dinner, then spend another $50 for a babysitter.”
As was Ralph J. on Northbrook Patch: “There is no justification for disrespecting each and every other diner in this pricey, sophisticated place.”
On Hinsdale Patch, Joseph R. Martan said he thinks the incident is indicative of a bigger problem: "Unfortunately, there is that percentage of oung parents who think it is cute and their absolute right to inflict their little ones on everyone else in any venue. Total self-absorbtion."
John Pappas commented on La Grange Patch that although he raised two kids, he does not gravitate towards restaurants that cater to them. “I only frequent establishments that cater to adults. I vote with my wallet; the chef is just looking out for his business, can you blame him?”
Katrina Duque was more open minded about whether the parents should have brought their child, but wrote on Oak Park Patch that they had a responsibility to ensure their baby was quiet.
She wrote: “If it were me, once my baby started crying I would've been tempted to leave for two reasons: to better soothe my child, and also to make it easier on the other diners. At that point my meal would simply no longer be enjoyable or relaxing anyway. … As parents we should advocate for our kids, but also model considerate behavior for them.
What do you think? Should parents be able to bring their kids with them anywhere? Only if they're well-behaved? Let us know in the comments section below.