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Raise Your Hand If You’re OK With Banning Kids From Restaurants

by Lisa René LeClair

Photograph by Twenty20

Everyone knows how frustrating it can be when you take kids out to dinner, especially when you have toddlers who refuse to sit still. But should some restaurants ban children altogether?

According to Troy Taylor, owner of Hampton Station, a beer garden and pizza restaurant in Tampa, Florida, the answer is yes—but not everyone is thrilled with his decision. And some patrons (and former patrons) are especially offended by the sign he posted on the door.

"No children. All caps. The biggest font, at the top of the door. All after gladly accepting money from families for two years. Rude," a [former] customer wrote while rating the restaurant one lonely star on Yelp. "The owner is entitled to his opinion. 'No Children Please' would suffice. ... Seems that they're banking on alcohol sales. Won't be getting any from me."

Taylor, who opened his doors nearly three years ago, said that he has a lot of great families as customers and doesn't have a problem with them. But with some families, he told Redbook, adults are "drinking and letting the kids just run around."

Not only that, but he added that a child had been in danger at his restaurant and could have been hurt.

"It’s a liability and safety issue," he said. "After the incident, I thought, this can’t happen again."

Even so, some have taken the ban personally, and the Tampa Bay Moms Group wanted to know if that anger was justified.

In a message on their Facebook page, one of the women wrote:

"I was curious as to what sort of people would ban kids from a place, so I checked it out. Turns out when you check them out, you will see they describe themselves as a 'Beer garden specializing in the best German & American craft brews.' To put it simple ... it's a bar. It does seem they serve pizza and some bar-style dishes, but really ... it's a bar with food."

She continued, writing, "Everyone deserves a little kid-free time and, really, like it or not, businesses can make these changes."

And then she opened it up for debate.

"What do you think about adult-only venues?" she asked. "What about if they were family-friendly and then changed policy?"

Although the responses were mixed, most seemed to either show support for the restaurant or blame the parents for not keeping a better eye on their kids, including one woman who asked, "Why such a big deal?! Who cares if this place bans children?"

"As a mom of three children and a busy business owner," she continued, "thank God there are places like this where I know I can go to be kid-free."

"Kids were endangering themselves and other patrons?" asked another woman. "Sounds like the kids weren't being well-supervised."

Whether you agree or disagree with the owner's decision to ban children from dining in his establishment, Taylor is asking people to accept his decision and "agree to disagree."

Restaurant image via Tampa Bay Moms Group

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