Welcome to a weekly segment called "Social Circle." It's OnMilwaukee.com's first article that's truly a group effort between readers, social networkers and the OnMilwaukee.com editors.
Every Monday, we ask a question via Facebook and Twitter and then post the responses from our Facebook "likers" and Twitter followers in the Thursday column. Well-known Milwaukee movers and shakers will contribute, too.
Phew! This week’s Social Circle question caused quite the social media debate. People are greatly divided on whether or not it’s OK to bring kids into a restaurant. Some say it’s fine as long as they are "well behaved" and yet other say it’s ageist to ban a person from a public place due to their age. And some even wish for restaurants that band kids altogether.
What do you think? Should kids be able to dine in restaurants or should there be restrictions? Let us know what you think via the Talkback feature.
Stephanie Bennett: "After a certain hour, I say NO. Some of us would like to eat our $100-plus meal minus the sounds of loud children."
"Bunny Billski: "I also wish obnoxious adults would be asked to leave more often, as well."
Cassandra Bransted: "My boyfriend and I went for a quiet / romantic dinner on Saturday. It wasn't that at all. We were put near a crying baby at one table and a small child at another. The small child ran around and talked sassy to her parents. When he made our reservation he specifically requested a quiet booth for our romantic dinner. Who takes small children to a fondue restaurant? Have these parents ever heard of a babysitter? I have heard that some restaurants are going 'kids-free.' I absolutely love the idea!"
Reuven Cocos: "Sure, unless they are being rotten. Then they should be asked to leave."
Eric Eichstaedt: "Any place with booze or beer should = no children."
Sura Faraj: "I think the real question is, ‘should parents who can't control their children be allowed to dine with them?’"
Jeff Fortin: "So because I want to have dinner with my kids I cannot go to one of the hundreds of kid friendly-places (Chancery, Maxie’s Southern Comfort, any Mexican restaurant, etc.) that happens to serve alcohol?"
Jennifer Goyette: "I don't think there is anything wrong if a restaurant wants to only cater to adults. I once worked somewhere that did not allow anyone below the age of 21 and it was so nice to not have to clean up chewed up Cheerios. I don't think the point of view I am expressing is ageist - I think it is about business, and defining the desires of the public. They are kids, minors, not subject to the same laws as adults, and as hard as this may be for some folks to believe – not everyone wants to be around your kids!"
Maud LaMarche: "If they are not going to dine, what else would they do at restaurants?"
Erin Linnane: "Like an R-rated movie, some restaurants are not for kids."
Lisa Mahan: "I thought age discrimination was wrong and illegal?"
Lisa Malmarowski: "Yes, with 'dine' being the operative word. Wandering, standing on chairs, crawling on the floor, screaming, throwing things, coming to my table to tug at me ... ah, no. (And I don't blame the kiddies for this!) In fact, I think it's a great idea that parents take kids out to eat to teach them how to behave in a restaurant."
Mike Mattner: "If a restaurant does not want my business with my child present, I am sure not going to give them my buisness when it is an adult night out."
Sally Nordstrom: "Don’t set the kids up to fail!"
Michele Berg Pavlovic: "All except the buffet at Silk."
Christian Ricco: "I've been in dining situations when kids were out of control, and I've been in situations when the adults were less than desirable to be around. Live and let dine."
Kevin Sloan: "I would imagine, for the most part this would be answered right along party lines, as far as the haves and have nots. Personally, I always wanted to steal the Wile E. Coyote from Six Flags (the one that says you have to be yay tall to enter this ride) and put it in front of my restaurant. But that's fairly predictable, seeing as I don't own any kids. I do love that my current company (Pabst / Riverside Group) has no issues publicly stating that the 'Fish Fry ‘n a Flick' event is meant for adults, and parents should keep the kids at home. Can you say refreshing?"
Nancy Schneider: "No."
Ann Matanaer Stacy: "No."
Jaimmie Sturgard: "I like to call and ask if it is a kid-friendly establishment before I roll in with the little one. I've never been told no yet. Also, as a parent I assess the situation (i.e. Is he tired or cranky? Is it too loud or crowded? Is the food too fancy for a kid? etc.) Our fave for kid-friendly dining is Maharaja (lunch buffet) because there’s no sitting and waiting, just eating and jetting and the staff is so kind to the little ones. They've known our kiddo since he was nine days old."
Mitchell Wakefield: "It simply depends on three things. 1) the age of the kids, 2) the maturity level of both the children and the parents and 3) the restaurant."
Christina Ward: "This is common sense. But loads of people, parents and the unchilded alike, seem to lack it. If your child is capable of displaying restraint and basic table skills they should be allowed. But again, it's the parent's responsibility to not set their kid up for failure. Why take a wild 2-year-old to Lake Park Bistro where you know it's beyond their capabilities to do all the things required to be a civilized diner?"
Christina Williams: "Yes ageism is an ‘ism’ like racism or sexism. Restaurant owners have the right to ask disruptive guests to leave if they don't do so on their own. Parents are the ones whom need the break from the kitchen the most. The DINK’s and singletons have more than enough time to cook for themselves or learn to. It's dumb crap like this that leads to mothers being murderers. Parents have enough pressure and issues to deal with already without this as well. If you have a problem with children maybe you should accommodate them with a play area or separate dining sections. I would be first in line to file suit against any place that violates and segregates me in such a prejudice manner."
Kenyatta J. Yamel: "I agree with Reuven. And parents or other adults present with then are responsible for their kids’ behavior. The adults can get a waring about misbehavior and if the kids keep acting up then everyone in the group must leave."