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Babygate is back! After Grant Achatz started a big debate last year when he posted online about a couple who brought an 8-month old baby to sit through an entire tasting menu at Alinea, the owner of a diner in Portland has reignited the argument by shouting at two-year-old who was apparently left to scream for over 40 minutes.
In January 2014 Achatz asked the question about what a chef should really do in the situation when other diners are being affected by a baby crying. Should they tell people no kids? And would someone take a baby to a concert or a play?
The chef had a point. Alinea is the sort of place that people book months in advance, a place for the truly special occasions and a place where dinner in less than 3 hours is just not happening, a diner on the other hand is a little bit different.
The story plays out like this:
It’s saturday morning at Marcy’s Diner, a small place that’s used to a busy morning rush. Manning the grill is owner Darla Neugebaue - a regular saturday it seems until Neugebaue’s routine is repeatedly interrupted by a crying toddler. Nothing out of the ordinary you would think, after all, young children cry all the time and a Saturday morning diner is the sort of place you’d expect to be family friendly.
We’ll let Neugebaue pick up the story from here with a direct quote taken from a post she made on Facebook about what happened:
One of the couple’s in question has apparently written to Neugebaue on Facebook, expressing her concern over the way she was treated.
The comments on Marcy’s Diner page go from full on support to full on hatred and the company say they have now stopped taking phone orders because of the number of pranks calls they have been receiving. You can watch her speak about the whole event in this video from WMTW:
It’s one of those hot issues of contention when dining out, split further by the fact that not everyone knows what it’s like to dine out with a child. At the moment Neugebaue has expressed a little regret in the way she approached the matter but stands by telling them to take the child out of the restaurant. “My Diner, My Rules” seems to be slowly becoming her favourite catchphrase in social posts.
It’s hard to side with what seems like kind of erratic behaviour but we’re pretty sure that all restaurant owners and chefs have faced this issue at some point and know just how hard it can be not to explode.
What’s the real solution? Does it just boil down to good old fashion parenting or should restaurants like this expect to have a baby crying now and again?