Restaurant Bans Kids Under 6 – Say What?

Like most moms, I know which restaurants are kid-friendly and which restaurants are not. Besides the obvious restaurants that scream kid-friendly (Chuck E Cheese types), moms learn quickly which restaurants go out of their way to cater to kids/families with great kid’s menus, lots of ambient noise, waitstaff that is friendly to kids etc., and which restaurants give your kids the cold shoulder. It isn’t rocket science to figure out, and I think most parents stick to restaurants that are kid-friendly for most outings. Frankly, because it’s easier and less stressful.

But for a restaurant to out-and-out ban children under 6 from a restaurant entirely — I am shocked and offended. Yes, that’s just what McDain’s Restaurant, in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, has decided to do.

“Beginning July 16, 2011, McDain’s Restaurant will no longer admit children under six years of age. We feel that McDain’s is not a place for young children. Their volume can’t be controlled and many, many times, they have disturbed other customers.”

As a mom, I believe that it is my right to choose where to take my children. Albeit that when we visit a “fancier” restaurant my daughter is under strict instructions, and I have no hestiation in taking her outside for a talk should her behavior go south. But I know my child, I know how well-behaved she is, and I know how to keep her entertained (silently) while she waits for dinner. So I have taken my daughter to “fancy” restaurants from time to time — including my favorite Italian restaurant that does not offer highchairs or booster seats to its patrons.

Oh I get it. We have all sat down to enjoy dinner only to realize that the unruly child next to us seems to have the sole purpose of ruining our dinner. (And I will be the first to admit how annoying it can be.) But isn’t that mom’s job to monitor her children, and even if she can’t, doesn’t she deserve a little understanding from her fellow parents? And why does her unruly kid mean that my good kid is banned until a certain age?

And aren’t some grownups just as loud and just as rude? How about the loud talkers and the cell phone talkers? What about the lady with the shrill laugh who thinks everything is hilarious?

Shame on you McDain’s. You aren’t the parent. Hope you enjoy your quite restaurant filled with grumpy people who don’t take kindly to kids.

What do you think?

8 thoughts on “Restaurant Bans Kids Under 6 – Say What?”

  1. I get it. I have a 3 yr old and, you are right, there are just some restaurants that we won’t take him too. Not only because he may disturb other diners, but it’s just not a fun experience for him either. Not all parents are as responsible as that. Case in point, my husband and I went to a 10pm showing of Transformers and I can’t tell you how many children (many under 5) that were that at the ahow…what did those parents think was going to happen!? Late night does not mix with intense (borderline scary for kids) movie!

    Although I don’t appreciate the comments that McDain’s made, I do get it.

  2. I am a mom to a 3 year old and I have to say that it does not bother me at all. In fact, on the nights that we have a sitter I would love to go to a place that was guaranteed child free. There are the parents like yourself that mind their children, but there are also the parents that let their children go wild in a restaurant. There are parents that take their children to inappropriate places at inappropriate times and act, well….inappropriately. Those parents are the ones that create places that ban children. And the fact that there are times that people, and even other parents, want a quiet break from that is totally understandable to me. Heck even think about people who take clients out to dinner/lunch to conduct business.And I also know that sometimes my child is not at her best, I would rather the people that would have a real problem with her at a restaurant have an option that they could go to that ensure that we not run into each other.

  3. I think it’s awesome. Yes I’m a mom, but sometimes, a lot of times, I want to go out for dinner at a kid UNfriendly restaurant. I want to know I won’t be annoyed. Because the thing is, a lot of parents strictly believe that monitoring their children is up to them, but that doesn’t mean they do it. And gawd forbid anyone tries to do it for them. Nope, I disagree with everyone who says this was a bad idea. I give a big round of applause to McDains!


  4. I wish they’d open a location near me. LOL my daughter was one of those out-of-control, unruly toddlers and as hard as I tried, I could not get get to behave at restaurants – so we never went out to eat at nice places for a period of about 3 years.
    I wish every parent was that self-sacrificing but that isn’t reality. I get so irritated when kids are crying, screaming and throwing crap at me at restaurants. I love that McDain’s is ensuring that theyre patrons are able to enjoy themselves…parents that want to take their children will just have to find somewhere else. This isn’t the only restaurant in town, I’m sure.

  5. I think it’s their right to ban kids if they want to, but my question is if I wanted to ban the elderly would that be allowed? I didnt’ know it was legal to discriminate by age.

    If having kids at their restaurant was such a problem it sounds like it’s going to hurt business. People won’t bring thier kids, or themselves, anymore.

  6. I’m kind of stunned by this. I wonder how much the ban itself will hurt it’s business. I have a feeling that people that feel the way you do about it will never dine there again, nor will people with young children.

    I see both sides of this and I am torn. I can’t stand to go to a restaurant and sit near an unruly toddler. There are parents such as you and me that will remove our children from a restaurant if they are acting up. But not all parents do. If I go to a “nice” restaurant where I am paying decent money for a dinner, I do not want to have to listen to a child acting up while I eat. Heck, I can stay home if I want to do that. 😉

    But to actually BAN children? The mom in me says that just isn’t right.

  7. Not all parents monitor their children or teach them how to act when out in public and they can ruin it for those that do. As a matter of fact, at one restaurant 2 moms were chatting while their kids were all over the restaurant and throwing things. They were taking their shoes off and leaving them spread out by different tables. I even got a little metal car hit my head as I was trying to eat. So, yes, I’d eat here if I wanted a quiet, kid free dining experience.


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