My late father hated taking his four young children to restaurants. But he did it anyway.
For one thing, he believed that the only serious way that youngsters truly developed a sense of behaving properly in a restaurant dining room was to actually eat in a restaurant dining room. We did not eat in the kind of places that we now call "kid-friendly" (although my parents were always relieved to find a Howard Johnson's restaurant on the highway, because they did not trust little "Mom and Pop" diners - too many of them had unspeakably dirty bathrooms).
As a waiter, I never minded waiting on families with small children (although the post-meal cleanup could be daunting). Not everyone can afford a baby sitter, you know? That's why I was sort of reeling when I read about a sushi restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia, banning all children from the premises. Yes, the combination of sushi and toddlers probably isn't a great one, but is it all that preferable to eat a California roll in a child-free environment?
According to a friend of mine - who won't sit at a table in a restaurant's dining room if there's an infant within a 3-foot radius - the idea of an adult-only dining room is nirvana: "I hate kids. I don't want to even look at them," he says.
Playing devil's advocate, I asked him: "Doesn't this really discriminate against the parents?"
"The parents should hire a baby sitter," he responded with a shrug. "I wish more restaurants would adopt this idea."
I'm opposed to any kind of discrimination in restaurants, and, let's be real, Kansas City's past history isn't that good: Jazz artist Queen Bey's recollections of wishing, as a teenager, that she could actually sit down and eat a chili dog at the Kresge's lunch counter in downtown Kansas City in the 1950s (African-Americans could order food to-go or sit in a corner but were not permitted to eat at the lunch counter) still resonates.
I'm wondering how our Fast Pitch readers might weigh in on this subject. Is a kid-free dining environment sound like a good thing...or discriminatory?