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Chef Grant Achatz considers 'baby ban' at Alinea in tweet

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posted on Jan, 15 2014 @ 04:12 PM
Here's an interesting one that should spark some interesting conversation. I'd like to get ATS's opinion on this one...

January 13, 2014 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- A crying baby at his upscale Chicago restaurant Alinea led Chef Grant Achatz to tweet about a possible ''baby ban.''

The infant was brought into Alinea on Saturday, and apparently had a crying fit.

Chef Achatz tweeted about his tiny guest, questioning whether he should consider banning babies there. He 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.."

ABC News

Now, this isn't just your typical sit-down family restraunt. This is an award-winning eatery with no children's menu. The Chef is a father himself, and understands both sides of the argument:

"We want to accept young children into the restaurant. I take my kids to nice restaurants. But we also have 20 other people that have paid money to come experience a certain thing," said Achatz.

Achatz also tweeted a picture of two fish heads and "Definitely not baby food."

Diners pay $250 each and often wait for months for a reservation at Alinea.

My thoughts:

If I made reservations for a special night out at a place that charges $250 a person, I'd be VERY annoyed with someone's screaming child. If you have the audacity to bring an 8 month old baby into a high end place and don't have the common courtesy to leave when they start screaming -- I deem you inconsiderate and some other words...

In my mind there are acceptable places for small children to eat with their families, namely restaurants that have their menus in pictures hanging overhead. I know that I was a "problem child" as a youngster, and my parents would leave the restaurant or take turns eating while one stayed in the car.

I fully support bans on children in certain environments and establishments, but of course the "parents rights" crowd will scream bloody murder. Just because YOU think your little bundle of joy is adorable doesn't mean I think it's cute, funny or amusing too.

I would also pay extra to have "no children under 10" airline flights. I understand that young children may not be able to sit still for long periods, or that their ears won't pop. This is why if I choose to ever breed, I probably won't be taking any vacations that require flying until they are old enough.

I go through life trying to treat others how I want to be treated, and honestly I wouldn't want to subject anyone else to my screaming, ill-behaved child.

This seems to be getting worse every time I go anywhere in public. Parents today just don't seem to be "parenting" -- they let their kids scream, wail, run around and be a nuisance in general.

I fully support this chef (as it is his establishment) if he makes the decision to make a "no children" policy. Heck, he might even get MORE business due to that decision. I know if I wanted to special night out and his place had that option -- I'd be booking a table there.

Thoughts ATS?

posted on Jan, 15 2014 @ 04:35 PM
reply to post by MystikMushroom

Kim Kardashian and her new prop Kayne West has ruined it for everybody. ROFL

posted on Jan, 15 2014 @ 04:40 PM
reply to post by MystikMushroom

Having kids it's certainly tough going to a restaurant. sometimes they behave. sometimes we aren't so lucky.

The question here should be.

If person of X age is disruptive to other diners. Is person of X age not allowed in the restaurant.

Certainly babies don't cry all the time. Kids aren't disruptive all the time.

I've seen some people who are adults act in a disruptive manner and made my dining experience less than optimal.
Maybe they had too much wine or alcohol and are falling down drunk.

I don't know. It's not fair to say. Kids not allowed.

posted on Jan, 15 2014 @ 04:53 PM
reply to post by MystikMushroom

I've been to this restaurant, it's truly a magical experience for your pallet. When I went, the tab was near $1400 for the night (tickets for 13 courses and wine pairings with each course).. This is a very romantic spot too, lots of people who go there are on their anniversary's or some special occasion, it's not like going to TGIFriday's or something... Reservations are extremely tough to come by too. If I was there and saw a crying baby I would be extremely upset. There are restaurants appropriate for babies and there are others that aren't, like this one. This is one of the top restaurants in all of Chicago for a reason with one of the hottest chefs at the moment...

I think Alinea needs to add a "no children" rule within the restaurant.

posted on Jan, 15 2014 @ 04:54 PM
reply to post by MystikMushroom

In all honesty, I agree with the Chef. He should place a ban on young children. It's completely reasonable to do so, especially regarding the fact that people will be on a waiting list for months to get in. Seriously, you sit on a list for months, so you can have that special night with the one dear to you, and the atmosphere is ruined because some kid is crying for whatever reason. I'd be really annoyed, especially if the meals cost that much. You're willing to pay those prices, and wait that insane amount of time for an experience. I would be pretty agitated if my experience was ruined, because of someone's rudeness.

.....and yes, I find parents that allow their kids to scream and throw fits to be very rude.

I don't have any children myself, but I grew up around children constantly(cousins/nephews/nieces/kids of family/friends), and I understand what it takes to raise a child. In fact, I'm actually VERY good with children. Kids love me because I'm goofy, and enjoy a lot of the things they do. A happy child always brings a smile to my face.
But, you can ask my nephew/nieces, I don't take their crap. Whenever I'm out with my family, and if any of them start to act up like that, I grab them, and take them outside. We sit in the car, and I'll tell them how it is.

When I first met my niece, she was a very big problem child(bad early life experiences), and she threw fits all the time. When my mom would send her to her room, she would often sneak out calling for my mom in hopes they can quickly get out of trouble. Whenever I was around, I would sit outside their door, and just wait. They'd open the door, see me, shut the door and cry. I know some may think I'm this terrible person, but the way I see it, they were being bad and got in trouble. So they stay in their room until they're told they can leave, not because they sneak out and continually ask to leave. I mostly watch for things I did as a kid, and try to nip it in the bud.

Point I'm reaching is if they act up in stores/restaurants, I take them outside. If I ever have my own children, I will do the same. Why? Because I personally believe it's rude as hell to let your child scream and cry around people who don't want to, nor should they have to deal with it. It actually really bothers me when I'm at work, and someone's child starts crying, and they won't do anything about it. They just walk around, like nothing is happening. That's fine at home, but seriously, do they have to subject everyone else to it?

So I'm all for this guy having a ban on children under a certain age. I'm also for a ban on very young children going to movie theaters(except for family/cartoon movies, that should be expected
). If you can't find a babysitter, then you really shouldn't be taking your baby. Yes, it may suck, but hey, you're the one who had a child. That comes with the territory.

posted on Jan, 15 2014 @ 05:26 PM
A true restaurant for the 1 % of us who can afford it. Any restaurant that charges $ 250 a plate is one for the upper, upper crust of society. Having a restaurant that charges this amount is why Americas in the crapper with a hand on the valve. Forgive me if I insulted those on here who can afford such dining experience. I'll take my steak & shrimp from my grill any days. But if the man wants to cater to the 1% he can do as he wants.

posted on Jan, 15 2014 @ 06:08 PM
As a mother of 3 kids myself.. I agree with the Chef. Its HIS place, his prerogative, and even if my own kids are well behaved, others certainly arent at times. I enjoy the adult only section of our local cinema. NO ONE under 18 to watch the new release movies in this part of the theatre.

You dont have to hate kids in order to NOT want to deal with someone else's kids when youre out.

posted on Jan, 15 2014 @ 07:09 PM
Interesting replies everyone!

From what I gather, the couple's babysitter bailed on them at the last minute. If it had been my establishment, I would have quietly and politely offered to refund the couple's money and offer them a new reservation of their choosing, and asked them to please come visit another time without their child.

Now, if I was the couple I would have left and cut my losses.

posted on Jan, 15 2014 @ 07:15 PM
As a parent of 2, I say go for it, Chef. All restaurants have an atmosphere to compliment the food & vice versa, it's not called a "dining experience" for nothing. I'd never plunk $250 down on one plate, but if others are going to, that's their choice. If they're going to spend that much on a meal, they're not just spending money out the nose for the food, it's for the entire package of food & atmosphere. If the owner wants the meal to feel a certain way, and if that feel doesn't include disruption from kids, it's their choice. I think an minimum age to act as a threshold between the earlier years of less or no impulse control, and when those are achieved is a good middle ground option if he so chooses. Perhaps the age of ten is a good minimum age.

I've always felt that if you can afford to eat out, you can afford to tip the waitstaff (common expectation in general) I think "arrange a babysitter" should be added to the list, too. We've yet to take our kids to a finer restaurant because we don't believe they can sit still & quietly long enough to not be a disruption to others yet. I'd rather put off a fancy dinner out for them until they can control their impulses much better than to make a nice dinner out a headache for someone else. That's just rude.

posted on Jan, 15 2014 @ 07:20 PM

A true restaurant for the 1 % of us who can afford it. Any restaurant that charges $ 250 a plate is one for the upper, upper crust of society. Having a restaurant that charges this amount is why Americas in the crapper with a hand on the valve. Forgive me if I insulted those on here who can afford such dining experience. I'll take my steak & shrimp from my grill any days. But if the man wants to cater to the 1% he can do as he wants.

You didn't insult me -- as I can't really afford $500 for myself and my significant other to go out to eat. I would, however, like to point out that when you pay those exorbitant prices it's not just because of the food. Part of the reason for those prices has to do with the "experience".

Your comments remind me of a lot of people I know, and I completely understand where you are coming from. I bought some frozen lobster tails the other day for $5 a pop, and 6 bacon wrapped fillets at Costco for $15. Steak and lobster under $10 a person! I honestly think that I can cook a better meal than some of the fancy places in my town. I made a gorgeous beef wellington a couple of weeks back that didn't break the bank and tasted amazing.

Going to these fancy places is almost like a mini-vacation for some people. I know that for my Birthday this year I went to a pretty expensive place. The total tab was somewhere around $175 for two people and two beers (the piece of cake was free!). I wanted to feel spoiled, and I had saved/set aside money specifically to have that experience.

I could think a bunch of romantic places that don't cost $250/each (most are outdoors and free) -- but hey, for some people that don't care for nature a high-end place is what they think they should do.

Another angle as to why these places are so expensive is due to the ingredients and the preparation that goes into them. I've never eaten at "The French Laundry" in California, but it sounds very similar (long wait list, high prices, very romantic). I would love to eat there, as it would be a "once in a lifetime experience". Thomas Keller, the chef, actually sends people out at night with flashlights to find the mushrooms for some of his dishes. I've even heard he keeps his fish upright in a "swimming position" to keep the flesh in a more natural, rested state.

Imagine trying to cook individual 8 course meals for over 30 people in one night -- that's 240 separate dishes that have to be prepped, cooked, plated and served. That's quite the feat, and that's one of the reasons The French Laundry has the reputation that is has, and it's prices are what they are.

Some people really get into their food -- and I'm what you could consider a "foodie". I don't have the $$$ to eat at these places often so I taught myself to cook. I probably spend more money on pots/pans/kitchen gear than I do on going out to eat these days!

Some people scoff at spending $250 for a dinner, while I would scoff at someone spending god-knows-how-much on a lift kit for their truck. I suppose different strokes for different folks certainly would apply!
edit on 15-1-2014 by MystikMushroom because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 15 2014 @ 07:23 PM
reply to post by Nyiah

From what I gather reading about this restaurant -- it wasn't $250 for one plate of food. At first I thought that and simply shook my head. It appears it was some kind of 13 course tasting menu with wine parings to match each course. Now that, meh, I might be able to wrap my brain around!

And you're absolutely right about certain places matching their ambiance to the food. I'm not going to take my significant other to Chuck E Cheese's if I want a romantic place to propose. Besides, two grown adults without kids in a Chuck E Cheese's might creep parents out!

posted on Jan, 15 2014 @ 09:32 PM
I agree with Grant wholeheartedly. Not allowing small children in upscale restaurants is quite common. Here in Las Vegas, most fine dining restaurants do not allow kids. If I was paying $250 for a prix fixe tasting menu, I would be really irritated by crying kids. Alternatively, if I was paying $25 for some ribs at Applebee's it probably wouldn't bother me at all. Btw, I am a chef and father of two.

Edit: As an afterthought, it would take a really ignorant and inconsiderate parent to bring a kid to a restaurant like that!
edit on 1/15/2014 by mantisfortress because: (no reason given)

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