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Dear Parents: No Tantrums with My Tacos

January 27, 2014
Image: neoleg/ Shutterstock

Image: neoleg/ Shutterstock

Your child is special, and he’s normally not like this. I know. It’s important to expose children to fine dining and culture, and just last Friday, when you brought him to Bohanan’s for pre-theater dinner and drinks, he watched that little iPad until he fell asleep, the angel.  The waitress said she had never before seen such a well-behaved child. Tonight’s screaming and food-throwing must be an anomaly.

Anyway, it’s hard to ask a two-year-old to sit quietly for so long. I’m a mother of two young children myself.  I understand. But there is something you need to understand: you are ruining this for the rest of us. This might not be a Michelin three-star restaurant, and I might have plans to drink three-dollar beers at Bar America after this, but this truth exists here in San Antonio as it does at Alinea in Chicago. Your kid is special, but tonight he totally sucks and you need to get him the hell out of this restaurant.


Family-friendly San Antonio is quickly becoming foodie-friendly, and we are in a unique position to integrate two worlds often held mutually exclusive in other cities: the world of the fish stick and the world of the fish foam.  For many of us, our children were born at the same time as the hip downtown restaurants that are pulling people back from the suburbs. We parents, restauranteurs and chefs must ensure that our children play well together.

So Parents, let’s talk common sense rules.  There is only one.  If the person sharing a table with you can’t quietly blend in with other people in the restaurant, get him out of there. Back in his kitchen, Chef Achatz didn’t shudder when baby flesh crossed the threshold of his restaurant. He noticed when, above the din of a commercial kitchen, he heard an infant’s screams and then he heard his other guests’ complaints.

Let’s not talk of banning children from restaurants but of banning childish behavior, in which I include the irrational belief that the people around you either don’t notice or don’t care about the cacophonous eruption at your table.  A poorly-behaved child is no more noticeable than a poorly-behaved adult. No matter the age of your dining companion, if he starts screaming, throwing food or . . .poop smell . . .he’s got to go, and if you’re his ride, I guess that means you, too.

Restaurant staff might not feel as comfortable posting No Screaming Children signs as they are No Cellphones signs, but they should feel justified in asking parents of loud children to take it outside.

Your child is special, and I will forgive him.  But if you don’t admit temporary defeat and ask for the check, I will not find it as easy to forgive you. Tonight may not be your baby’s best night, but I will applaud your determination to try again tomorrow. We’ll be out there, too.

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  • mypresumption

    Could not agree more. 1,000% agree (as the mother of 3 under 8).

  • Ed

    It’s a free country. I have 5. There are good days and bad. It’s not hurting anyone like cigarette smoke. Deal with it.

  • Maggs

    I have 5 children, also, and would never sit in a restaurant if one of them was acting out. I appreciate a quiet, comfortable evening out and I expect other people’s children to not disturb that. My kids didn’t go to restaurants from the age of 2-5 unless they behaved. We made many paid bills for drinks only when they misbehaved and had to leave.

  • DesiZke

    get a baby sitter…..get over it

  • No kids and proud!

    I disagree. I’m the mother of NO children and thank god. I’m an aunt of 6 and that’s enough. If I’m spending good, hard earned cash for a nice meal than I shouldn’t have to deal with loud brats. It’s your choice to breed and loud screaming kids are to me like smokers. So be courteous and think of others and get a babysitter.

  • DesiZke

    you don’t have a right to drag your rug rats to every venue…..get a baby sitter…..get over it

  • Johnny

    I’ll stop taking loud kids to restaurants when I don’t have to sit across from gay couples making googly eyes at each other or showing signs of PDA. If you’re going to ban the kids, the restaurants shouldn’t be forced to cater to “those types” either…get over it.

  • Zara

    Johnny – What the hell is wrong with you?

  • Keeks

    Ohh what a horrible comment! I sincerely hope this is poorly worded snark.

  • Labella

    If you can’t find some humour in the situation, whether it be obnoxious babies, loud drunks, or affectionate lovers, maybe you should learn to take food to-go. You can’t micromanage other people in your environment, but you can change your behavior to avoid, accommodate, or enjoy it.

  • Keeks

    As a parent who rarely has a chance to escape those (darling, dearly loved) screaming snot-noses, I, too, seriously dislike when I have to tolerate my greatly anticipated fancy dinner with a side of tantrum. I’m paying a babysitter to escape the noise. Go to the Cove!

  • JM

    Ever heard of birth control? Disgusting.

  • anaBee

    If you don’t want to sit around gay couples may I suggest you buy yourself a 1 way ticket to Sochi? The mayor just came out saying that there are “no gays there”. Don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya. BYE FELICIA

  • Monica

    I do not have children, I work retail and I like to dine whenever I can.. But children running around the restaurant like it’s a playground or playing and climbing chairs in a vacant table, like an experience I had Panera Bread. I don’t understand why parents won’t discipline their children to behave or stay in one place.
    I think it is more embarrassing to allow the child to scream and shout and do whatever he/she wants than you putting your foot down and tell him/her how to behave in public. I clap for parents who are considerate than those who fear that people may see them as a bad parent for yelling at their child for misbehavior.
    I’m trying to find the resource on the news on why my associate didn’t show up for work because he was at his second job. There was an incident at Mimi’s cafe where a couple children ran around the restaurant and tripped one of the servers, where the server went to the ER with a plate in her throat.
    Please be courteous of others and think is what is best.

  • LOLDuval

    Fine dining boiled down to Panera and Mimi’s…I expect children to be at such shitty chained establishments…

  • Sarah

    “Those types?”

    You mean humans?

  • Sarah

    You made my day. =)

  • Exo

    I really really REALLY hope your trying to be funny (not working) or ironic (not working). If not you’re whats wrong with this world and maybe you should take a twist on what bob barker recommends and have yourself spayed or neutered.

  • Bobby

    He doth protest too much…me thinks.

  • Miranda

    For the sake of discussion, how would diners react to a fellow diner cussing loudly and abundantly near a table that included small children? It’s bothersome to some but maybe not all the diners. Would parents object to this? Then, following the thought, is the objection to cussing by parents equivalent to screaming kids, and therefore equally as inappropriate?

  • Miranda

    For the sake of discussion, how would diners react to a fellow diner cussing loudly and abundantly near a table that included small children? It’s bothersome to some but maybe not all the diners. Would parents object to this? Then, following the thought, is the objection to cussing by parents equivalent to screaming kids, and therefore equally as inappropriate?

  • Johnny

    Better yet, why don’t you move to New York, where there is no place for anyone that does not agree with the leftist agenda? Last I checked, I’m here in Texas where some morality still resides and is the law of THIS land.

  • Johnny

    I rest my case. Funny how the name calling is fun and OK when innocent kids are being referred to rugrats, brats, spoiled, etc. But when the tide is turned, it is referred to as horrible. Typical left…don’t agree with them, then there is no place or argument for you here. GOD Bless Texas and keep it RED for years to come.

  • Sarah

    If treating ALL people like human beings is wrong, I don’t want to be right. We don’t all need to agree, but we do all need to coexist.

  • Heather Nicole

    Care to pay $265 a head for each of them? If not leave them at home, because that’s what everyone else is paying to eat in peace.

  • SJConnelly

    False equivalency. Badly behaved children ARE brats. Gay couples “making googly eyes” (are you in seventh grade?) aren’t usually screaming and throwing food at the same time. So maybe you’re just homophobic and juvenile. So glad most Texans aren’t like you. Maybe you should stay home if you can’t stop spewing hate.