I'm about a week or so late on the topic, but it was still fresh on my mind. I've heard a lot of chatter about the couple who brought the 8-month old baby to Alinea. I had to do a little more research to get an idea on just how the situation went. I, personally had never heard of the restaurant. I must admit that I live in a box that consists of parenting, PR/marketing and fun that doesn't involve $1000 dining experiences.
It must be nice to be able to drop a grand on dinner just for the heck of it. I personally don't think I'd spend that much on food no matter how much money I made. But then, if I did, I'm sure I wouldn't want my night ruined by a screaming child. Go-2-baby is two years old and I've taken her out to eat at a few restaurants, but nothing fancy. She's just too loud, too messy and too um... toddler like? Yea, that's it. She acts her age out in public and I'm not ashamed of it. It just limits the types of places I bring her.
In the case of restaurants like Alinea, I think it should be a spoken rule, to not bring children. I say this because the unspoken rule obviously was missed by this couple. Now I do feel for them, especially if they truly had the sitter cancel on them and they couldn't get a refund. I feel like if you have that much to spend on food, you should always have a sitter or nanny on hand, but then again what do I know about that lifestyle.
While I say that children don't necessarily belong in high end restaurants, I'm a repeat offender of taking my toddler to the movies, another place where infants and toddlers are frowned upon. Go-2-daddy and I used to go to the movies nearly every week before she was born, and now we may try to go once a month, twice if we're lucky. Us going or not going does not depend on whether or not we have a sitter either. We just had two movie dates just last week and even topped one off with a trip to a decent restaurant. The place was kid friendly of course, definitely not anything fancy.
So far, we haven't been shushed more than once in one theater sitting due to noise from our toddler. Go-2-baby pretty much either sleeps or sits through the movie without making too much noise beyond the occasional request for something more to eat or drink. If she ever decided to throw a complete tantrum during the show, we'd just leave and catch the movie at another time. I definitely wouldn't want to spoil the show for anyone else, just because my child is restless.
In the case of restaurants like Alinea, I'm all for a kid-free policy. I think the movie theaters are fine for small children as long as the parents can keep them under control. I understand that at times as parents, we want to go out and enjoy ourselves and aren't always able to find a sitter. I'm sure the couple who went to Alinea really hoped their infant would be calm just long enough for them to enjoy their meal. That's just not the way it happened for them, but maybe now they'll cause restaurants to spell out a "no children allowed" policy, or at least put an limit of the age of which a child can dine in a restaurant.
Do you think children should be able to attend high end restaurants regardless of how much noise they make? Their parents pay for the experience just like anyone else right? Before I became a parent, I would have argued that children should be allowed to go anywhere that doesn't put them in harms way or expose them to inappropriate behavior, but now I totally get it. I guess that's a bit backwards. In any case, I'd love to hear what others think about the issue. Alinea is probably an extreme example, but would you take your child to a restaurant like Zed 451 or Catch 35?