Poll: Should babies be allowed in fancy restaurants?


When you’re in an elegant restaurant, say Crabtree’s Kittle House or Bedford Post Inn, what is your reaction to a baby crying at another table?

babies in restaurants

Chef and owner Grant Achatz of Alinea, one of Chicago’s finest restaurants, tweeted that a couple brought their eight-month-old baby to dinner and the child disrupted the atmosphere of his dining room. Dinner at Alinea runs around $200 per person, so it is easy to see how this might irk some people. But Chef Achatz’s tweet critisizing the parents earned him some flack.

So, we want to know, what can you tolerate when it comes to young children in a fancy restaurant? Or do you enjoy taking your child out to experience a posh meal? Please take our poll and leave comments below.



About Author

Megan McCaffrey is a food writer for The Journal News and contributor to the Small Bites Blog. She has a degree in Digital Media from Fordham University and a fondness for good craft beer. She loves to bake, read cooking blogs and taste all the Lower Hudson Valley has to offer. Megan lives in Ridgefield, Connecticut with her husband and three kids.


  1. I think for a restaurant like this, perhaps babies/small children should not be allowed- BUT, I think the restaurant has a duty to make that clear at the time that the tickets are being purchased. That way people are on notice that if their plans for a sitter fall through, they have to have another backup plan. Alternately, they could allow babies/small children, but require that they also be ticketed, even if not eating (you wouldn’t be able to bring an infant/toddler into a concert without a ticket, yes?).

    Or even a sign/statement on tickets that babies/small children are welcome, but disruptive customers (including adults!) will be asked to leave without refund. Or that crying children must be taken out until they calm down (and provide a crying room, if the goal is to be family-friendly). I think making those expectations clear in the beginning is key, here.

    I know I would be incredibly upset if I were a parent that had spent that kind of money for a dining experience and then had the babysitter cancel at the last minute. I do feel for these parents- but it is a dining experience for the other 78 customers as well, who have also paid really good money.

  2. I do not believe babies should be brought to fancy restaurants, but if they are the parents should be extra sensitive to the child’s behavior and remove him/her from the dining room if acting up. It can be very disturbing to the other guests.
    As to the Alinea episode there were other factors at play. The couple in question did have a baby sitter that opted out at the last minute and I guess they could not find a substitute. Alinea maintains a restrictive reservations policy with no apparent back up plan. In other words, once the reservations or ticket was purchased to attend the couple stood to lose money if they did not show. And the staff did not appear to have a clue about handling what was essentially a human situation, as good as they might be. I believe fancy restaurants should have a back up plan, like easing the cancellation policy.

  3. I have had many meals ruined by crying babies. I am from a lower income bracket so when I do splurge and go to a fancy restaurant this infuriates me. I go there for special occasions and would like to enjoy peace and quiet and good food with my loved ones. Leave the kid at home.

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