Chef tweets about crying baby in restaurant, Internet erupts

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( — Should patrons with crying babies be banned from high-end eating establishments?

That’s a question many on the Interwebs are answering Tuesday after an award-winning chef posed the dilemma on social media over the weekend, saying that a couple with an 8-month-old was causing quite a scene at his Michelin 3-star eatery and that “Diners (are) mad.”

HLN learned of this story on Twitter, where chef Grant Achatz, who owns and runs the venerable Alinea Restaurant in Chicago, had his followers in a tizzy Saturday night when he posed this dilemma to his followers: “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 question immediately set off a surge of tweets of the “Don’t you hate those critters?” variety, and the “Wait, fine dining is where we go to escape our kids,” type, while others took the high road, opting for a more measured tone. “Have early sitting for children,” one Twitter user suggested.

In the past three days, the issue, which has produced a hilarious parody account on Twitter called @AlineaBaby, has been addressed on sites across the Web and has become a sort of referendum on parenting. But should it be?

Nadia Jones, a mommy blogger and founder of the Niche Parent Network and Conference, told HLN on Tuesday that the onus is on parents to do the responsible thing. “I wouldn’t bring my 8-month-old or an 8-year-old to a high-end restaurant like Alinea, but that doesn’t mean there should be a ban against babies or children. The ban should be on parents that don’t know how to use their good judgment or common sense in these situations.”

“If a parent decides to bring a child and he or she gets fussy, step outside so that others can enjoy their dinner and cocktails. This makes sense at a casual dining restaurant and especially a high-end restaurant,” said Jones, who blogs at JusticeJonesie.

Achatz, whose establishment issues tickets in advance for seating, told “Good Morning America” that the issue is still a tough one and that even in the kitchen, he could hear the baby crying. “We want people to come and enjoy and experience Alinea for what it is, but we also have to be cognizant of the other 80 people that came in to experience Alinea that night,” he said.

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  • Terry Roberts

    People pay big money for upscale restaurants. First of all why would you even take a baby or very small child out to a place like that? If you can afford to eat at an upscale then you should have the money to hire a babysitter. There’s a difference between upscale and family restaurants. Until a child is able to be dealt with and know how to act in a place like that they should not be there. It gets me where some people don’t know how to cut the strings with their kids and enjoy themselves and let the kids be somewhere else..

  • MKAhlsen

    I recall reading on another site that the babysitter bailed at the last minute and the parents took the baby so they wouldn’t lose their “golden ticket’ to dine at this place. (Poor decision.) The second that child started crying, one of the parents should have walked outside to comfort the child and not disturb the other diners. The same applies to toddlers and small children when they become unruly at ANY restaurant, not only up-scale eateries. While many of us love children, some places are an escape from our children. Some people may save all year to go to those places for an anniversary, for example, without their children, and listening to another person’s baby crying throughout the dining experience is absolutely not what they should be having to tolerate.

  • Carrie

    Although i do agree a child that young would be difficult to handle in this atmosphere and it should not be there, I have to disagree with an 8 year old. By the time a child is 6 years old, parents should have taught the child how to act in public and it is a great experience to take a well disciplined young child to places such as this so they can have cultural experiences they may not otherwise get the chance to have. I know my 7 year old son enjoys going to high end restaurants, operas, and other more culturally educational venues. Its really all about the parents and how they raise their children. Use a little common sense people, and try parenting it can be very rewarding. Not just for you or your children, but for the people they will come in contact with throughout their lives.

  • Al

    Many adults enjoy “their” time at a decent restaurant…cocktails/relaxation…..why do people disrespect that and show up with an 8month old? If a couple cannot afford a sitter/nanny then they should stay home…..or go somewhere that is not geared towards adults.

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