Pennsylvania restaurant bans kids

Dad Days of Summer: While Momania’s Theresa Walsh Giarrusso takes a vacation, local dad and sportswriter Andy Johnston will be filling in. You can e-mail him at

AJC Food & More blogger Jon Watson wrote today about a restaurant in Pennsylvania that has banned children under 6 years old. The owner of McDain’s Restaurant and Golf Center in Monroeville, Pa., apparently was tired of the kids running amok in his establishment.

It seems things like this and Malaysia Airlines banning kids in first class are becoming more popular and accepted.

Are you tired of kids in restaurants?

 Should restaurants be able to ban kids?

- By Andy Johnston, for the Momania blog

80 comments Add your comment

Father Jane Goose

July 15th, 2011
2:52 pm

If its a private establishment, yes – ban kids! When I go out to eat I don’t want to deal with your child running around, looking over the seat at me having a romantic evening with my wife. If I’m spending top dollar on a first class ticket I do not want to hear some crying baby either. Ban kids from certain things, yes.


July 15th, 2011
3:06 pm

Years ago we went into a sit down pizza place in Duluth. Is was mid week and lunch time. I was watching 2 extra kids that summer, so with my own, I had 5. A couple in their 60’s had been seated just before us. The hostess put us next to them…I saw a sick look cross their faces. I have parents who don’t want ot sit w/ little kids, so I really understand. I told them I wasn’t sure if there was a “no kids” section, but I promised mine would be behaving…but wouldn’t blame them at all if the moved. Why should anyone have to sit by kids in a restaurant? Even with kids, I’ve had meals ruined by other people’s kids. Owners get to choose how to run businesses and consumers get to choose where to spend their money. Now that my kids are grown (nearly), I’d love the option of kid free dining out for me and the hubs.


July 15th, 2011
3:27 pm

I guess a private business can do whatever they like. I admit I get irritated when people let their kids scream and/or run around. But what I don’t understand is instead of banning all kids (even ones who behave) why not just ask the people whose kids are being rowdy to leave? Like at the movies, if you talk or have screaming kids, security can ask you to leave. Why don’t the restaurant managers just ask them to leave.

I don’t take my kids to really nice “white table cloth” restaurants, but we do go out to normal places. I expect them to behave & if they don’t, we step outside and deal with it. I never subject others to a screaming baby or a temper tantrum. It’s too bad more parents don’t do the same, because the rest of us will end up suffering, not being able to take our well behaved kids places, just because a few lousy parents can’t control their brats!!


July 15th, 2011
3:45 pm

I agree with Lori, my daughter is now 15, so this is no longer an issue, but when she was young, we always removed her from the situation if she was acting up or simply didn’t go if it was close to bedtime, etc. It only took one or two removals (once she was old enough for her to understand why she was being removed) for her to realize that she was “missing out” and her behavior was (usually) appropriate. We did have a situation, when she was 4 or 5, where we had no choice but to take her to a nice restaurant for a dinner with a colleague (the colleague was aware of the circumstances). She sat in her chair, politely ordered her own food even asking the waiter if she could have a half order of her entree, and engaged in the conversation. When we were finished, the wait staff and manager came over and complemented her on her good behavior, and if I remember correctly gave her a free scoop of icecream as a reward. Positive reinforcement of good behavior works wonders.

I do agree however, that it is purely up to the proprieter what their policies will be and it’s up to the consumer to vote with their wallets if they disagree. But I do think it is a shame that this particular establishment has had to go to this extreme because children are no longer expected to behave when out in public.


July 15th, 2011
3:51 pm

I also think the real issue here isn’t really with kids. The real issue is that common courtesy is a thing of the past these days. It’s not just misbehaving children who are annoying others anymore. People are just plain rude to each other everywhere you go.


July 15th, 2011
3:51 pm

We ate out at Luciano’s, in Duluth GA last night. Entrees were $14 and up. Not pricey but not Ryan’s Buffet. There was a couple with an 8 or so year old girl near us. She was dressed up and behaved appropriately. The family seemed to be enjoying their dinner.

We once ate a nice Mother’s Day brunch in Peachtree Corners. A family came in with 2 young boys who were dressed up and very polite. My husband (NOT THE NEW POSTER WHO HAS DECIDED TO USE FATHER JANE GOOSE) went over and congratulated them on the boys good behavior.
It was refreshing to see a family who had prepared their children for a meal out.

On a trip, I read an article about a family eating at O Charley’s. Their children apparently were running amok. Nearby guests complained to the management. The manager on duty walked over to the table and said, ” We are asking you to leave. We have had several complaints and are boxing your food up to take with you. There will be no charge.” The family did not exit quietly.

If you own a private business, my guess is that you can children. I do not find this to be any different than posting a sign that says NO PUBLIC BATHROOMS. It is the owner’s choice and the patrons can either choose to continue to patronize or eat elsewhere.

I have had this chat with various servers, who tell me that it is VERY difficult dealing with a table whose children are causing trouble. If they say anything, the people complain to the manager and leave no tip.

Banning children might just eliminate unclear expectations. I hope we can get a follow up on this story and see if more people eat there or the restaurant goes out of business.


July 15th, 2011
3:57 pm

ooops…my guess is that you can BAN children….

@ Lori…. I am in awe over your 3:51 comment. I have been saying this very thing for quite some time and have been cut down here often. Thank you for your post. A teacher from Florida ( last week) mentioned this:
“Integrity is not as common and people do not typically go above and beyond. We can barely get them to do the minimum. ” She is just a bit older than I am.

@vsmom…congrats…I hope you were proud of a wonderful child!

Father Jane Goose

July 15th, 2011
4:26 pm

Ohhhhh – capital letters, my lady… Proper use of the King’s English allows one to express themselves properly without the elaboration of capitalized letters.


July 15th, 2011
5:02 pm

If I’ve got a babysitter and can go out to eat without my kids… I’d TOTALLY go to a “no kids” place, haha! I totally understand it. I’m embarrassed when my boys act up and I take them out to the van, food boxed up to go. But I’m happy to say it doesn’t happen too often.


July 15th, 2011
5:11 pm

…..gee, almost as annoying as the pompous, self-absorbed ADULT who can’t turn his cell phone off for an hour-long dinner….hmmmmm….


July 15th, 2011
5:13 pm

It’s the restaurant’s right to ban kids and if it’s a white table cloth, quiet dining establishment, I think it’s great (why would anyone take a toddler to such a place anyway?) But I get so tired of people complaining about kids. How many times are you bothered by a child in a restaurant? If it’s often than maybe you are the one with the problem. I know a man who always complains about kids, any kids, in restaurants. Places like O’Charley’s and Long Horn. I tell him. “Get a grip and loosen up, you crotchety old fart”. I have occasionally been bothered by a loud baby or a roudy toddler but I can’t say this happens often. Although I think this is the restaurant’s right, it bothers me and I wouldn’t eat there. This is apparently some sort of golf restaurant. Nice but not 5 star formal evening dining. I think they are going to lose business.
Whenever I have chosen to dine alone with my husband at a really nice restaurant, we rarely see children and the ones we do see are well behaved. I can’t imagine the problem being so bad the restaurant would choose to make the statement that they are banning children.


July 15th, 2011
6:48 pm

Fascinating that most of the bloggers on Jon Watson’s blog completely embraced the idea!

Ohio Muffin

July 15th, 2011
10:32 pm

I agree with the restaurant implementing the no-child ban. When we go out to a restaurant my children have been taught how to conduct themselves while waiting for their meals and eating. I can’t tell you the number of adults who will come up to OUR table and interrupt OUR family time and meal because of how well behaved my children are. I appreciate the compliments, but it can be annoying.


July 15th, 2011
11:04 pm

Thank God someone had the stones to do this!!!!!!!!!!! Hell yes, ban them! Out of control kids in any setting are obnoxious but especially in restaurants. I’d love to see theaters do it next.


July 16th, 2011
12:21 am

Yeah, that’ll fly. Think for a minute just how many kids go to the movies with their parents – and they are PAYING COSTUMERS just like you! There shouldn’t be any kids in a R adult movie….so, what you’re suggesting is to ban parents and kids – all paying $10 plus a pop to get a seat – from “family rated” shows??? Okay….if I take my kids to a movie I’ve plunked down $30 bucks plus another $10 to $20 on concessions. A single adult shows up with a purse full of Ju-Ju Bee’s and lays out a meager $10 for a seat. Hate to tell you this, but the movie theaters will ban you before they lock out a family with kids…
Yes, I am all for taking kids to appropriate spaces and controlling them while there, but come on! Think back a bit….everyone here was a child once upon a time. Were you always so perfect? Did you always listen to every single thing your parents told you to do? If they told you that you too had your moments, would you then conclude that you had “bad” parents?? We are dealing with human beings here. We all subscribe to “free will” – even kids. The most outstanding parents in the world can’t keep their kids from doing something rude or stupid from time-to-time. I think everyone here on their “high horse” needs to have a talk with their mom and dad….I’d be willing to bet you all embarrassed them once or twice as a kid. Does that make them horrible parent’s too?!?!?


July 16th, 2011
2:28 am

As someone who not only is a frequent diner, but also someone who works in the restaurant business, I applaud this decision! People pay good money to get out. Date night is supposed to be without kids, I don’t need yours there to spoil my evening. I shouldn’t have to move my seat because of loud, disruptive kids. Parents now a days bring DVD players to entertain their children; you can do that at home. Parents let their children run amuck and don’t understand the dangers for the children. I have had children run under my feet while carrying hot plates, soup, and coffee. Restaurant floors have broken glass and aren’t the cleanest surfaces in the restaurant. I have seen parents allow children to throw handfuls of food on the floor and spill their food/drinks and leave a mess. I have seen parents change diapers of screaming children on table tops. Yes, parents should remove the “problem child”, but the vast majority don’t. My opinion is… if the restaurant doesn’t offer crayons and paper or your child’s meal in a box with a toy, they should be left at home until they are old enough to find the restroom themselves.

Fred M Pohl

July 16th, 2011
3:12 am

I agree with these folks Childern should not be allwoed to run rampart in restauranst I’m a paying customer and Like to enjoy my dinner in peace .And alos why should we have to put up with it for who? For What? You stupid ignaorant parents out there NEED TO BE CONSIDERATE OF OTHERS GUT YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE SAND WAKE UP!!!!!!!


July 16th, 2011
8:25 am

Airlines should do it also,you cant bring a nice quit dog on a plane but screaming crying kids?
Welcome aboard!


July 16th, 2011
9:47 am

i agree with this. my kids were always taken to any restaurant we went to and were expected to behave accordingly. they were just expected to behave in general though. that isnt true for all kids. i hate to go eat and hear kids being rowdy and misbehaving. it really is a parental issue-but the issue is there. espcecially if i was going out sans kids i sure didnt want to go listen to someone elses kids being brats. i also think that cell phones should be banned at some places. having to listen to someone else talk to whomever about whatever and usually loudly at that is as bothersome to me as bratty kids. so i am all for banning kids from some restaurants–i have 5 kids-they are all grown now..but it wouldnt have bothered me that i couldnt take them somewhere like that….i would have just chosen a different place to go if they were going too. and yes it does have to do with the lack of manners in general..which seems to be growing by leaps and bounds. everywhere.


July 16th, 2011
6:24 pm

5 Star establishment or not, if they want to ban kids or make people wear shirts and shoes than that’s their right. Having kids is a lifestyle choice, private establishments do not have to cater to that choice.

For example, should I expect Chuck E Cheese to have 20 different beers on tap being served by bombshell waitresses? Of course not. Some places are meant for kids, some restaurants are family restaurants and some are not. If this is truly a bad business decision then the free market will let the owner know, not the PC police.


July 16th, 2011
6:46 pm

Children should be banned from most restaurants! I’m tired of kids yelling and running all over the place while I’m trying to eat a meal in quiet with a date.


July 16th, 2011
9:12 pm

Children should not be allowed to run wild in restaurants, but honestly, I rarely see that. Where are you people eating?!


July 16th, 2011
9:38 pm

Last week, I brought my mom to the Jonesboro Rd., McDonough Chili’s for lunch (her choice). Unfortunately, a girls’ baseball team (??) was in the restaurant..they were traveling to wherever their championship is…

The girls were around 9-and COMPLETELY out of control. They were running all over the place, and despite our sitting in the bar section, they ran past us to the bathroom no less than a dozen times. One of the coach/moms followed them, and then there was MORE running. Another coach/mom came by, saw them running (and also yelling, thanks!) and said nothing.

Everyone in our section was over it. It was completely obnoxious. While the adults were enjoying themselves, no one bothered to monitor the kids.

As we were leaving, the VERY WEARY staff walked us out and apologized.

My suggestion, “hey darlin’ just trip one of the precious little ones as they zoom by the next time!” (ha. kidding. maybe).

I have two (now adult) sons. We used to frequent a very high-end local restaurant in our home state. Our boys knew that they had to behave…or else they’d go home with one of us.

We once walked in, and were seated. We were ‘regulars,’ so they always seated us in one section. An elderly couple looked horrified as we took our seats…At the end of their meal, they came over and confessed that they were getting ready to ask to be moved-but wanted to wait to see “how bad it would get.” They said they were amazed that a 3 and 6 year old would sit quietly, eat with utensils, and be well behaved (note: this was NOT a place with “kids’ placemats and crayons). We thanked them and explained that they’ve been going out to sit-down restaurants from the time they were toddlers, and have been taught to behave.

I understand that parents want to relax…and they then let their darlings run amok; if that’s the case, spring for a sitter-or trade off with friends with kids, so you don’t have to pay. Just as I don’t want to smell someone’s cigarette smoke while eating, I also don’t want MY dinner out ruined because someone is too lazy to disciple their kids and teach them how to behave.

There are plenty of “restaurants” with “playplaces” you can take your kids to; if you choose to go to anything other than a fast-food place that has these areas, please teach your child to behave in public. And, if they can’t, make good on your word, get in your car with them and let them eat a p.b. & j. in the car while the rest of the family enjoys their meal.

Or-stay HOME!



July 16th, 2011
9:39 pm

I think that if people want to eat in peace and quiet you should stay home. And the people who are complaining there children are of age, where they don’t dine with them anymore, or there single with 10 cats and 10 dogs.. Stay home, if you want peace and quiet, its a public restaurant, where does it say private.

What 'chu talkin' 'bout Willis

July 16th, 2011
10:06 pm

“Proper use of the King’s English allows one to express themselves….”



Since when can “one” express “themselves”.

Nuthin’ proper about that.

Midtown Resident

July 16th, 2011
10:14 pm

I agree with the restaurant. I don’t want to sit next to a mother or father talking baby talk to a small child, no matter how well behaved the children are. Kids don’t belong in a nice restaurant and in first class. I’ve paid good money to sit in first class in the past and had an annoying 5 year old talking and describing everything he saw. Yes, that’s what 5 years olds do, and I love it when its appropriate. I had 4 children and now have 8 grandchildren. They are annoying up until their teenage years. Keep them out!


July 16th, 2011
10:15 pm

Instead of banning the kids; do away with neglectful parents. Do not allow all the parents to sit at one table and the kids at another. Been to Taco Mac where those kids were running around and the parents did not care. Kids with parents should not be banned.


July 16th, 2011
10:18 pm

When my parents would take my older siblings and myself out to eat, we’d often get compliments from other dinners on our good behavior. My parents taught us how to act in public and if he did not live up to those expectations, there were immediate consequences. Then came along my younger siblings and my parents’ divorce. My mother either gave up or just didn’t care any more and as a result my younger brother and sister never acted anything remotely resembling human behavior when we went out to eat. I felt sorry for the other dinners and for the waitstaff. Not only were they loud and rude but they would make a huge mess. The all you can eat type buffets were the worst. Even after my older siblings moved out on their own, I guess my mom felt she didn’t want to bother with teaching manners or was simply overwhelmed at being a single parent. Whatever the reason, we spoiled the dining experience for way too many people. Too bad for those dinners that such a ban didn’t exist. Too bad for the waitstaff mom was also an awful tipper. I bet she never tipped more than 5%.

Steve S

July 16th, 2011
10:22 pm

I think it is silly to ban kids. One day those kids may be paying customers too.

My kids get just one silent warning in a restaurant. I hand them a pink 3×5 card with the words ‘whop whop whop’. The next step is a quick appointment with my old fraternity paddle that I keep in my car trunk. I never say anything. First they get card. If they continue to misbehave or disrespect other patrons, they have a quick conference with the ‘wooden intimidator’ at my Dodge Neon.

America is great because of our work ethic.


July 16th, 2011
10:23 pm

Businesses are private and are allowed to refuse service to anyone for LEGITIMATE reasons. Even public places like PARKS even have rules about acceptable behavior and can ask people to leave for inappropriate behavior. I support a business’ right to choose its clientele like banning kids and asking families with bratty, noisy kids and clueless idiots for parents to leave. My kids were NOT allowed to behave like that and I do NOT have to put up with other people’s kids acting like monsters.

Riley Cranfort

July 16th, 2011
10:25 pm

I agree strong discipline is the answer.

Burger Tyme

July 16th, 2011
10:36 pm

I disagree with hitting a child with a paddle.

We keep an old rubber Halloween mask in the kitchen at our restaurant. If we have some really loud kids whose parents ignore them, we send out one of the busboys wearing the mask with a bloody butcher apron. It stopped a lot of the nonsense at our joint. Some families don’t return and I understand their embarrassment.

It makes an uncomfortable situation fun for all.

Helen Waite

July 16th, 2011
10:38 pm

I hug my child when he misbehaves at a restaurant. Nuturing is more effective than paddles.


July 16th, 2011
10:39 pm

I was excited when I saw the headline on the main page. Now, I am unhappy that this is happening in Pennsylvania. I would love to go to a restaurant that has a no child policy or have a no kids after 8pm policy.

Tivo Bill

July 16th, 2011
10:40 pm

Discipline should take place at home not in a public parking lot!


July 16th, 2011
10:44 pm

@ Midtown Resident: Annoying up until their teenage years? Of course, then they know everything!! : )

I was traveling cross country with my dad and 9 year old son several years ago when we stopped at a restaurant. Granted, it wasn’t white tablecloths and salad forks, but it was a public and very crowded. At the table behind us sat a 7-8 year old boy and his mother and grandmother, neither of whom could control him. He ran around the tables, talked very loudly, and finally, climbed up on their table to play with the hanging light. This made his grandmother laugh and his mother say, half heartedly, “Don’t get up there”. My dad turned, looked at the boy and said, “Hmmm, I guess the circus is in town”. The mother told him he should try making a young boy behave in a restaurant. My dad replied, ” I have ma’am. I made this one behave when he was small (pointing at me) so I don’t have to worry about this one (pointing at my son) ever misbehaving. You should try it too.” They got huffy and left. Our waitress, who was waiting on them too, thanked us after they left. She said they weren’t supposed to say anything to the customers about their kids acting up.

My dad ate for free that day.

Helen Wait

July 16th, 2011
10:45 pm

Once an old man told me to control my six year old at Montgomerys Wheelhouse. My kid ended up spilling his root beer on his pants leg. I was so proud.

Riley Woodburn

July 16th, 2011
10:48 pm

Where can I buy a paddle with holes in it? They swing easier through the air.

Southwest ATL

July 16th, 2011
10:51 pm

Restaurants wouldn’t need to make themselves “no kids” if parents could figure it out on their own.

Oh Yeah!!

July 16th, 2011
10:54 pm

Sad, but true!!! Someone is having to make the decision for parents who can’t control their kids.


July 16th, 2011
10:56 pm

We go out to dinner with other couples, no kids. We all like to try new and different places. Before we go to a new place, we check out the website. We tend choose restaurants that do not have a children’s menu :)


July 16th, 2011
11:05 pm

It’s the PARENTS! I don’t know what the problem is with these parents that think it is ok to let their kids run all over the place. If you are a parent it is solely your responsibility to control your kids and not to bother other patrons. I was just in a restaurant the other day and the women let’s her kid lay on the floor and climb the rail on the patio, I thought the kid was going to flip over and she just sat there calling his name but not disciplining him.

You can’t go to the store because parents aren’t stopping their kids from playing catch at Target, blocking the aisles. In the movies, kids are in movies that are not even age appropriate then they start crying and won’t take the kids outside. It’s bad parenting all around, rich white families, poor white families, rich black families, poor black families, hispanic, etc it across the board. Bad parenting period.


July 16th, 2011
11:10 pm

I wish restaurants around here would implement that policy. Recently, we were having lunch at a restaurant, and nearby a mother had two children in the booth with her. The younger one wailed the ENTIRE time. The mother completely ignored her. At one point, she told a neighboring table who was glaring at her that it was the child’s nap time. Luckily for all of us, the child finally cried herself to sleep…after more than 45 minutes of misery for all of us.


July 16th, 2011
11:20 pm

I have four children and five grandchildren. We took our children to many restaurants in many states and many countries, and they behaved, If they did something inappropriate, we removed them, as in departed from the restaurant. There is no reason for strangers to be subjected to ill-mannered, children, anywhere. When our grandchildren were small, and they are all within three years of age, we had family dinners in our home, not a restaurant. It was annoying to have them whining and crying at home, but we were the only ones being annoyed. Now that they are all older, we have family dinners in a very elegant dining room in our club, and they are interesting, fun, and well mannered. Truly, a pleasure to be around, but it took time and training to get them to this place.

Ban the brats

July 16th, 2011
11:36 pm

I have to agree with the restaurant. I have worked as a server and these parents who simply let their kids throw food without ANY discipline really makes me ill. And these mothers are the very ones who get up and only leave a 5% tip. I’m left on my hands and knees under the table cleaning their crap for a $2.00 tip!!!!


July 16th, 2011
11:48 pm

I am a server at a Pizza restaurant and there have been so many times when parents let their kids run around that I have almost dropped a scalding hot pizza on them. Then who would be blamed? Me! When their parents are too busy drinking beer to worry about where their kids are at. It is ridiculous.

No Kids!

July 16th, 2011
11:52 pm

My wife and I had dinner tonight. On both sides of us were families with unruly kids. Screaming, schrilling, talking loud. And the parents were just as bad with their loud mouths. I say this is a good idea. Parents these days could care less about anyone but themselves.

I have kids and agree

July 16th, 2011
11:52 pm

I believe that the restaurant is within it’s right to ban kids. I have two young twins and I only bring them to kid/family friendly restaurants. We both work and appreciate the time we get alone or in adult settings as it is very rare.

My wife and I don’t often get a chance for date night and the last two times we went out in a four month period, each restaurant had young children (under two). These are places that before tip we ended up spending over $100 for the two of us. Each time there were babies crying.

I think today too many parents believe that they are entitled to do whatever they want and that everyone should love their precious little bundles and they can bring them wherever they want. They don’t seem to understand that they should be more concerned about being considerate to others around and not asking people going to restaurants that have an average plate of $18 a $30 to bendntontheirndesire


July 16th, 2011
11:54 pm

It’s not a children problem; it’s a parent problem. Many parents don’t understand that LOVE means discipline and structure which gives children security and a well balanced life. The same parents that are defensive about their out-of-control children will forever wonder what happened… why their kids just won’t eat anyting but 3 or 4 items, don’t respect authority, aren’t as successful in school or in life. It’s simple. Those children needed parents, not enablers.

I have kids and agree

July 17th, 2011
12:22 am

Plus I would like to add that both the restaurants we went to don’t have kid menus or kid plates. I know that someone else posted that they shouldn’t ban children but ask the family to leave if their kids become roudy. At that point it is too late.