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Snot-Nosed Kids or Little Angels?

by KevinFreitas
on 2/17/2012 @ 3:22pm
I saw a note by STINK owner Kris on Facebook questioning whether or not to turn her restaurant into a 21+ establishment to quell annoyances that can come along with little ones. What do you think?

Should an owner just ask patrons with out-of-control tots to fix it or leave? Should they impose age restrictions? If it's a parental issue but it effects how a business runs is it the right of the owner to refuse service?

by KevinFreitas on 2/17/2012 @ 3:26pm
I tend to think that if an adult sans child was in a place an out of control it would be perfectly within the business owners rights to ask them to leave. By extension, if the child's behavior is the responsibility of the parent the same right applies, imho. I'd hope parents with trantrum-throwers would do the right thing and head out before being asked to leave.

by Keeper on 2/17/2012 @ 3:37pm
As the parent of children, I'd say it should be a case-by-case basis,
unless the content of the establishment is adult-only (i.e. pub). My
kids are well behaved (of course what parent doesn't say that about
their kids) and have enjoyed many establishments that are more for
grown-ups without incident.

Especially with an establishment like STINK, I think it's important to
expose our children to different experiences, finer foods included. In
this age where most children (American anyway) choose Mac-n-Cheese by
default, let's expose our kids to more varied & nutritious options.

That said, if your kid starts whining and being a nuisance, then I say don't let the door hitchya where the good Lord splitchya.

by KevinFreitas on 2/17/2012 @ 3:43pm
Yeah, case-by-case makes good sense. Especially since kids deserve to try real mac-n-cheese like they server up there at STINK instead of the box variety once in a while! ;)

by CaptainBritton on 2/17/2012 @ 3:45pm
I got kids. Their natural state is annoying. The restaurants that I go to are tolerant of kids, or downright nice to them (Medi's on 6th, Gateway to India, Gari of Sushi)...Those places I go to again and again and I tip well, and order extra, because of the extra hassle. If anybody ever asked me to leave though, I'd never go back, ever.

If your establishment doesn't want kids, fine, but you'll be cutting off a revenue stream of adults who want a break and a date. And that might be just fine by you.

Sometimes kids are just jerks though, and I don't think it's always the parents fault. I try to read them before going in to a place. If they are not going to be good, we go home...Subsequently, I don't get out much...clearly.

by CaptainBritton on 2/17/2012 @ 3:55pm
STINK, however, doesn't feel like a kid-friendly place...I can't imagine my kids eating anything there without severe trickery being employed. The only time I've eaten there was on an actual Mom and Dad date lunch.

That said, I wouldn't have wanted some snot nosed kid sitting next to my wife and I on our one freaking lunch out, like, ever...It is kind of a romantic little spot, too...So yeah, I won't be offended if cute romantic spots become adults only.

Sorry I'm so long-winded...When does my wife get home?

by Jesse Stah on 2/17/2012 @ 4:19pm
What Captain Britton said, 100%. Sorry if that's a cop out, but it's like he read my mind!

by jenyum on 2/17/2012 @ 4:27pm
I haven't been to STINK in a long time, not because it isn't a great place  but because we just don't eat out very often anymore.

When they first opened, I stopped by there with my eldest while my youngest had a piano lesson.  At the time I didn't really know what to expect, I thought it was more of a specialty cheese/high end grocery shop than a place to eat, so I didn't expect the menu with all the grilled cheese options.  (Which made the kid immediately feel entitled to eat a grilled cheese sandwich.)  I awkwardly tried to tell her quietly that I hadn't planned to buy her a $6 grilled cheese just then, ($6 not being too much for the excellent ingredients, but just not an expense I had cash in my pocket for) and get through the transaction for the cheese I was buying.  Didn't go very well.

 I promised to take her again and buy her a grilled cheese.We came back and she had her sandwich, but it was a small space and therefore a little tricky with a kid who seems to have been born without a filter or a volume button.

I think STINK could be fine with some kids, I could manage my quieter youngest without wanting to pretend I didn't know her.  But I would completely understand the decision to be 21+, and I think that's a much better solution than being rude to customers with children.  

STINK is a small place where this doesn't really apply, but there were places I'd get "stuck" with my kids when they were little because I literally could not extricate us from the building and pay the bill.  I think if you have a kids menu and your place is clearly geared towards families you should have some basic clue about how to help a parent out of a difficult situation with a kid having a tantrum.  

Seat families with little kids near the door and leave the check with the meal as soon as it comes out.

Standing there giving dirty looks is not helpful when your whole restaurant would be much happier if you came over, asked the stranded parent if he/she would like a check (YES) and if we needed any help.  A lot of places are fantastic about this, but others are just terrible, and inevitably that would be where the kids would misbehave.

With one kid, it's easy enough to just pull the plug and go, but with two it could be really difficult.  With more than that well...  that's one reason you don't see families with more than two little kids eating out very often.  But sometimes you're traveling, or it's somebody's birthday, or....  whatever, families need to eat out occasionally.  We can all help each other out and be the better for it.

by villacaffe on 2/17/2012 @ 4:39pm
I keep crayons and paper at my restaurant. As well as kid friendly menu items and a few games. I feel like parents need a break sometimes too, and it's ok for me to entertain them for a few minutes as a host. That said, I'm the kind of parent who would ask for my food to go and head home with my brat if they are being inappropriate. :)

by NineInchNachos on 2/17/2012 @ 4:46pm
I dunno  ever since I read this I think that stink lady is kinda a beeotch

by Maria on 2/17/2012 @ 4:48pm
Perfectly fine in my opinion to have a restaurant geared towards adults. The majority of children are miserable anyway in most places where one has to be quieter and more well-mannered (definition: "behavior acceptable to adults in public").

Some kids do fine, but as a parent, I generally chose more kid-friendly places so my child would have a fun experience. And if I were kid-free for the day...a quiet, upscale, quirky little place too small for rambunctious families would be exactly the kind of place I'd want to go to.

Re: other patrons dining with kids--be very careful about assumptions and dirty look, people. I've subbed as a teriyaki waitress for my pastor's wife. So I met a lot of different people and families at her place.

There was a mom with one really quiet, sweet little girl eating food, and a really loud, messy, demonstrative little boy (also sweet) who was spreading rice and chicken in a 10-foot radius and escaping from the table. I told her not to worry about it because we love kids and we had a broom/mop in the back so no problem. I left the counter and played with her boy so she could eat her food.

Afterwards she came to me and started crying. It was the first time she had gone out to eat in months. Her husband was deployed with the Army. Her little boy was autistic, and she didn't have family nearby. She was struggling to find babysitting and help...and came in that day because she was at her wits end and feeling so low.

She was already avoiding restaurants knowing it would disturb other patrons. But she told me the few times even they went out as a family, strangers would come by their table and say stuff like "You should spank that boy" or "Your kid is a brat."



by jenyum on 2/17/2012 @ 4:54pm
Well, yeah, but this assumes someone is paying enough attention to you to ask for your food to go.  (Not talking about your place, but this is not always the case.)  People ignore me.  Possibly, they think I'm the big sister or the nanny or they are  just rude.  I really don't know.
I think if you are doing the crayons and games thing in that space you are inherently setting yourself up for conflict.  This sends a signal that it's ok to bring kids who are young enough to need crayons to entertain them, and kids that age are probably not compatible with couples trying to have a lunch date.   Take the kids to PSP or Happy Teriyaki or some other downtown lunch spot where antsy kids are less likely to upset people.  
If you went 21+ this would absolve me from guilt for going there without my kids (who want to go back to Stink, but I won't take them because they are rude ungrateful loud little people who don't deserve The Good Cheese.) 

by NineInchNachos on 2/17/2012 @ 4:57pm
i mean come on

by NineInchNachos on 2/17/2012 @ 5:09pm
age discrimination! 

by debivans on 2/17/2012 @ 5:14pm
Kids or no kids should just be a business decision. Is your business doing so well that you can turn patrons with their little clones away? Or do the little tornados of love drive away the folks that just will not tolerate munchkin behavior? I notice that Stink and many downtown businesses close on Mondays. I guess they are making enough profit to stay open and be picky about their customers. "Must Be This Tall To Ride"

by Jesse on 2/17/2012 @ 7:07pm
"Hi little guest!  I have a deal for you!  I will give you these 8 crayons to color on this coloring book but I need something from you back.  You can color in my special books as long as you're a big boy/girl.  Do we have a deal?"

Then you can go back if they're misbehaving and ask how their coloring is going to distract them back to the table.

by L.S.Erhardt on 2/17/2012 @ 7:16pm
Considering that unless it's a bar almost all establishments are kid-friendly.

I say ban the kids.

NOTE: In the following words, I use the term "your" when referring to kids. I am not referring to anyone specifically, I am using the collective form of "your"

I'd personally like to see more businesses ban kids. I chose not to have children, I do not want to deal with your screaming brat.
I wouldn't have to feel this way if you actually were an effective parent and could keep your kids under control and teach them some manners.

I happen to like children. I happen to dislike brats who tear up and down the aisles of the grocery store and make a mess. I happen to dislike kids who scream uncontrollably and those who make a giant mess at a restaurant. And to think you don't even bother to leave a decent tip for the poor waitress who has to clean up the mess your undisciplined child left all ovrer the floor.

by Keeper on 2/17/2012 @ 7:42pm
The other question then, is: why 21+? I have had coworkers younger than 21 that I'd take there, but wouldn't be able to.

by fredo on 2/17/2012 @ 9:03pm
Children need to be taken to nice restaurants occasionally in order to let them practice their best manners. If you want to stunt your child's ability to move up in society just make sure they eat finger food "meals" at McDonalds or Taco Bell every time you go out for dinner. 

by Jesse on 2/18/2012 @ 8:15am
The best way to have a kid who's good when you take them out is to sit down as a family for dinner every night and make the kid sit there and behave until everyone is done.  If a kid doesn't do this at home all the time, what makes a parent think they're going to magically behave when you go out?  

Be consistent!  Kids need that!

by AP on 2/18/2012 @ 10:30am
If you feel your child is entitled to a gourmet blue cheese and bacon sandwich, I don't know what to tell you. Maybe make it at home? I can't imagine wanting to buy my toddler a $9 sandwich, but that's just me.

Nothing drives me nuts more than someone's loud, unruly child in a restaurant... except my own loud, unruly child in a restaurant. Maybe post a sign about your right to ask loud guests to leave? Then you get their $9 before sending them on their way? Perhaps parents of likely-to-be-obnoxious children that need $9 sandwiches will take that as a hint to get their order to go?

Only reason to go 21+ is if there is a change in format. A 21+ deli would make little sense to most people. I think you would be trading grief over loud children for confusion and having to escort underage patrons out all the time.

Change to a bar format and then it might make sense. I think 21+ limits your customer base, however, which seems awfully risky in down(ghost)town Tacoma!

by jenyum on 2/18/2012 @ 11:02am
a) I said she felt entitled to it, I didn't say she *was* entitled to it. She had some reward chits to cash in and that's what she chose to spend them on.
b) She can read the menu on the menu board, so it was her idea.
c) Like I said, I haven't taken either kid back there, because it's not a place I feel comfortable taking them.  Is it a deli?  It seemed like it was leaning more toward a sit down lunch place.

by fredo on 2/18/2012 @ 11:02am

Make it a membership only club like a country club.

by daubermaus on 2/18/2012 @ 6:04pm
Our last trip to STINK was uncomfortable and annoying.  Just like our other 2 trips.
We were sat at the only open table in the middle of the bank, between a loud foursome on their 3rd bottle of wine and a man and woman who only interrupted their hissed bickering to answer their phones, repeatedly.
We had planned to order lunch but between sitting and our waitress returning 6-8 minutes later we decided to get a token item from the case and leave.
That was the 3rd time we have gone to STINK, and I'm afraid that it was very much the same crowded, noisy, rude (different) adults the other 2 times.  I will not try a 4th visit on a late Saturday afternoon.

by The Jinxmedic on 2/20/2012 @ 9:19am
Usually, a restaurant that moves to a 21+ only format loses my business. (Such as Medi's.)

by AP on 2/20/2012 @ 12:37pm
@jenyum didn't mean to single you out! I used the word "entitled" by coincidence.