Kid-Friendly Dining? Just be honest.
For the first time ever, I was kicked out of a joint because of my kids. Fact is, we never even got past the hostess desk. It was 4:30 pm on a Sunday afternoon. We went to a national chain fondue restaurant. I called before we arrived to make sure they were even serving at that hour. Yes, I was told. There was no mention of the need for reservations. So we walked up the hostess desk from which we could see at least 40 tables. There was not a sole at any one of them. We were asked, by a hostess sporting the hugest sneer I have ever seen, if we had a reservation. That perplexed me. Did I mention it was 4:30 pm on a Sunday? When we told her we did not, she told us they were fully booked and could not accommodate us. Really?? At 4:30? on Sunday? With not a single table occupied? No apology, just that lingering sneer. So we left.
Once we were in the car, my husband called the same restaurant and asked of they could accommodate a party of four at 5:00. He was told they could. Hmmm. Hadn’t we just been a party of four standing right in front of them 5 minutes earlier? I have since looked up the chain’s web site, and I see that they market themselves as “romantic fine dining.” I’ve been there myself for work events on more than one occasion, and I wouldn’t consider it romantic or fine dining, but of course it’s their prerogative to market it as such. I also did a Google search to see if people considered it kid-friendly, and the overwhelming response was “no.” That’s fine. It was probably not the smartest choice for my family, and I have written on this blog before that I respect a restaurant’s right to exclude young children. But just be honest about it. If the hostess had told us “I’m sorry, but we can’t accommodate young children,” or some other straight-forward HONEST answer, I would have been fine with that, and I would have no hesitation about returning in the future sans kids. Quite frankly, the hostess could have lied through her teeth but done it kindly and with an apologetic smile, and we probably wouldn’t have even second guessed her. I believe that there are lots of places kids shouldn’t be welcome, and many restaurants make that list. But a smart hostess would recognize that parents dining with kids on a Sunday may be professionals booking an office outing or reserving a business lunch on Monday. So next time you don’t want my kids around, check your sneer, kill me with kindness, be honest, and you might retain my business. As for now, fondue is done.
Actually, if you want to try fondue with your kids, try this site for tips and recipes that will keep it safe, fun and delicious.