Just so you know I’m not out to win any culture war between urban parents and their counterparts who don’t have kids — I’d prefer a truce, a mutual understanding — I’ll pass along a few links that may be of use to parents who take their kids to restaurants (and bars).
Francis Lam at Salon interviews food critic Robert Sietsema (who is very much in favor of eating out with (certain) kids) and directs us to Fat City’s Jonathan Bender who give us a thorough round-up and includes these ground rules, which he summarizes thusly: think of pool rules.
5 to 6 p.m. is open swim. Translation: if you’re eating out with kids, go early.
No running allowed: trips to the bathroom are fine, but stay at the table and stay seated.
Three whistles, clear the pool: three strikes (you decide as a family what constitutes strikes) and you’re out of there.
In my family, we’d have to add the rule about lowering our voices (we’re kind of loud talkers) and to not fight over the last piece in the bread basket. But we manage. Very few actual scenes in the 9 years we’ve been eating out as a family.
Also, we’d never dream of demanding that restaurants provide a kids menu. That and allowing kids to go up to another party’s table to chat is just obnoxious.