Have you ever been out to eat at a restaurant and a child at the next table starts crying? You probably felt one of two ways when this happened: 1. Sympathetic for the parents or 2. Totally annoyed that this child was disrupting your dining experience.
The hard truth is that we’ve all probably felt both ways during this situation. But most of us know and understand that children cry, even when out in public, and that’s just something you have to take into account that you might encounter when you choose to dine out.
However, one restaurant called Old Fisherman’s Grotto in Monterey, California, decided to make a rule not to allow any crying children at their facility. They don’t even allow strollers, high chairs, or booster chairs either.
While they made this rule back in 2011, only recently did it start getting attention after someone posted a photo of this sign on Yelp commenting “Best sign ever.”
The sign reads, “No strollers. No high chairs. No booster chairs. Children crying or making loud noises are a distraction to other diners, and as such are not allowed in the dining room.”
The crying child policy was set so that diners had the option to eat at a quiet place located on Fisherman’s Wharf…where they absolutely knew for certain that a child wouldn’t interrupt their meal.
The equipment part of the rule came a bit later as a safety procedure. The small restaurant notes on their website that they’ve “found that having strollers and/or high chairs at the tables and in the aisles made it difficult to have full access to get to and around tables. For the safety of our staff and guests we adopted a stroller policy in 2009.”
Also, it has to be said that the restaurant doesn’t forbid children from coming to their restaurant altogether—they just need to follow the rules if they attend.
“At Old Fisherman’s Grotto, we strive to give all of our guests the best dining experience possible and our policy relating to children was put in place to enhance the experience of all our diners with and without children. We welcome families with children and we serve many every day, we only ask that they abide by our rules,” the restaurant states on their website.
Of course, if you put up a controversial sign like this one, you’re bound to get both all sorts of feedback. Some people felt that this sign was discriminatory, and wasn’t fair to people with children. Others felt the sign was brilliant, and couldn’t wait to eat in an establishment without the worry of an interrupting child.
“I support your child-free/no screaming kids policy! The irony of these self-centered parents complaining is that THEY are the reason this exists in the first place,” one Yelp reviewer wrote. “EVERYONE is tired of having their meal ruined by a screaming kid and apathetic, inconsiderate, indignant parents who refuse to do anything about it.”
We know what you’re thinking—this reviewer probably doesn’t have kids of her own. But sometimes even parents of children support the restaurant’s policy. “I’m a mother of two little ones and know exactly how disruptive they can be in restaurants. I totally support this policy,” one Twitter user posted.
And on the negative note, someone wrote on Yelp: “If this sign said, ‘No women, No African-Americans, No Asians’…would you feel different? It’s all the same: discrimination.”
We can totally see both sides—we’d love to hear what you think. What do you think about this children’s policy at a restaurant? Have you ever seen anything like this before?