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

William Schwartz

July 17th, 2011
12:41 am

They should adopt that rule in the House of Representatives. No unruly children allowed. Then maybe the adults, if there are any left, can get something done. Read: JOBS! (How many congressmen does it take to ban a light bulb?)


July 17th, 2011
2:09 am

Here’s a rule of thumb:
If the restaurant has an established wine list and your kids are not old enough to consume with you, then they are too young to be there.

If the restaurant has bright color and plastic tables and comes with disposable kiddo menus, the kids will more likely eat and enjoy their meal.

The places in between, like say a Raferty’s or Chili’s…. this is a grey area. It means simply, before 6pm bring the kids, if they can’t sit and eat and contain themselves to your table- grab the togo boxes and wait a year or two and retry. Possibly try instilling table manners daily to help both your sanity and your kids actions in the future. Remember they are a true reflection of you.

By the way, bad kids in a restaurant not only spoil the thousands to millions of dollars spent on ambiance of a place but can be very DANGEROUS! In years of experience in food service, I have seen bored, tired, ill mannered kids electrocute themselves, stab a sibling, run into a kitchen and slam them head on a hot surface- which did leave a permanent mark. These are reasons they don’t belong there. They don’t want to be there and hence will act out especially when you are on your coffee. And you know what….. it was all your fault. IT is simply not food service to take or clean up after them. We are already under paid and under appreciated.


July 17th, 2011
3:54 am

Thank goodness for our free-market system, which ensures that restaurant owners will put in place whichever set of policies they believe will best suit their interests. People who want to dine out must simply find those places whose policies are most agreeable to them (and/or tell the owners what policies they must follow in order to get or keep their business, which presumably the patrons of the Pennsylvania restaurant did). Sometimes that takes a bit of trial and error, and some unpleasant experiences are sure to be had. But eventually everything shakes out so that everyone finds their ‘niche’. Those who have a great deal of trouble finding something suitable are free to form a ‘club’, over which they have some say. Nice, neat and tidy, I say.


July 17th, 2011
4:36 am

I am so over pompous jerks who think that anything that annoys them should be banned. Get over yourself. Kids make noise. So do old geezers gumming their mashed potatoes. A restaurant is by definition a public establishment that operates under a licence. And the state will shut it down for health problems or discrimination.


July 17th, 2011
6:51 am

great..remove the kids. we pay to go to a restaurant and enjoy our food . we do not want screaming kids running around that parents cannot control or attempt to control!! and while you are removing the kids, remove the cell phones that constantly ring!!


July 17th, 2011
6:58 am



July 17th, 2011
7:24 am

Restaurants are full of all kinds of noise.
If you want silence, stay home.


July 17th, 2011
8:33 am

It’s not just the noise and rowdiness. It’s also the food that ends up everywhere. Parents who allow children to throw food on the floor shouldn’t have had children at all. Kinda like people who walk unruly dogs without using a leash……


July 17th, 2011
8:44 am

I love the idea! Banning kids punishes the parents and they’re the ones who aren’t disciplining in the first place. The 2 yr old who screams at the table becomes the 5 yr old who wants to wander all over the restaurant becomes my 8th grade student who thinks rules don’t apply and he/she can do whatever whenever. And following these little darlings is a mommy who “hugs” away bad behavior and takes pride in rudeness. I deal with these parents and children everyday as a teacher and I sure as hell don’t want to deal with them when I go out.


July 17th, 2011
9:03 am

It’s the PARENTS of the out of control kids that are the real problem.. I have seen so many parents just look the other way when their lil Johnny & Sally are playing under their table, running & playing tag around the establishment. When they do make eye contact with me they give me that look of “what can I do”.. Well care for your brat & be considerate of others you dumb ass.. On another note… There have been times where I’ll stop by a table where there are children that have been really good, & on the way out tell their parents that they have very well mannered children.. So it goes both ways… PS.. I have 4 children so I do know what I’m talking abut. Mine are well behaved & for that I am proud to take my children anywhere…


July 17th, 2011
9:15 am

As a 53 year-old single woman, with no kids I must concede that when I was young kids were told the rules and all it took was a look. Concerning toddlers ….well years ago fine dining restaurants were no place for babies, of course baby-sitters were in big demand back then. Times have changed and rudeness and cavalier behaviour is the norm. I think our patience and me, me, me attitude has brought all this unsavory ediquette to the forefront. Children and babies are apart of this world, so there really is no escaping them. Yes alot of these parents are oblivious to surrounding guest, but so are the people who talk loudly on cell-phones or check their messages when the waitstaff is trying to take their order,I think this is just as appalling because we are talking about adults here. Bottom line rudeness seems to rule the day, and until we can find a happy medium….it will continue to occur.


July 17th, 2011
9:27 am

I agree that as a private business, they have that right. They are cutting out potential customers, however, and that might not be smart. It really should be a case-by-case issue. As a mother of 2 small children I have been on both sides of this issue. My husband and I strongly agree that other diners should not have to suffer when our kids get cranky and can’t behave appropriately. One of us leaves with the upset child while the other either enjoys the meal for a few minutes or asks for the check. We have been the bothered ones and wished the manager would intervene when parents aren’t considerate. In response to “I have kids and agree”, I once tried a restaurant with my kids and then was told by the server that there wasn’t a child’s menu or selection. I gathered that kids weren’t the usual customers. Thank goodness my children were very quiet and stayed in their seats that day! As a result, I have not brought them back. It was a positive dining experience, so I will return- adult friends and family only!


July 17th, 2011
9:33 am

Yes, a private business should be able to refuse entrance to anyone it likes.

Frank Cipolla, Jr.

July 17th, 2011
9:39 am

Yes, I support the owner banning kids. Too many parents are self-centered or have succumbed to the ‘be my kid’s friend’ syndrome. Their kids are monsters and they ruin the evening out for those of us going out for a relaxing evening, away from the daily hub-bub. If I wanted to have kids running around us while we eat I would go to a crowded park and have a picnic.


July 17th, 2011
1:20 pm

and a lot of the adults really dont act any better. i just want to be rich so i can rent the whole restaurant and nobody but nice mannerly peaceful me will be there :)


July 17th, 2011
2:54 pm

@Meri: They may lose the young parent market, but I bet they will more than make it up in those looking for a more peaceful atmosphere for dining. The tactful hint, “We don’t have a child’s menu” is a good one.

I have been known to ask the waitress to seat me at a different table when shown a table by a family with a high chair and food all over the floor and one of the children hanging over the seat. Why would I want to eat next to such a mess? I once had a silk top ruined when a child behind me thought it would be fun to blow “bubbles” with their bright red fruit drink. I felt a sudden blast of drops on my neck and arm and realized what had happened, jumped up and started trying to mop up with a napkin, and then asked the parents to please move the child to the other side of the table (where there were no “neighbors”). The mother was very huffy with me until she saw the red stains on my blouse, and they left immediately — without offering to pay for cleaning. Honestly, does anyone go to dinner expecting a shower of Hawaiian Punch? Sheesh.

We were at Panera the other day for a quick, light dinner. The table next to us sat down with three adults and three kids — and the adults were definitely outnumbered. One 2 year old started whining/crying (”BUT I WANNNNNNTTT A COOOOKKKIIIWEEEE!”) incessently, so loudly that we could not carry on a conversation. I finally got up, turn around, and said, nicely but pointedly, “Please, either give her a cookie or take her outside — we literally cannot hear each other over here.” The father was so embarrassed and took her outside immediately, and the rest of the table quickly packed up and went outside, too, to the patio. My guess is that if she makes a habit of this, their hearing is probably shot and they didn’t realize how loud she was . . . :-)


July 17th, 2011
3:05 pm

Random question here…who would be the preferable guests and who do you think would leave a better tip:

A family of four, with 2 children on the KIDS EAT FREE menu
Two adults who dine without children

I know exceptions can be made in any situation but I really wonder if most parents tip on the free items and then which group makes better guests. I have never waited tables, so I am curious.

We typically avoid the restaurants on the KIDS EAT FREE NIGHTS.

DB, my husband had a clean suit jacket ruined from a child’s ketchup and no one offered to pay for the dry cleaning bill. OOOPS…sorry! Huh?


July 17th, 2011
4:07 pm

Just so any childless bitter a-hole doesn’t think that its ok to start telling families to shut their 2 year olds up, let me tell you how this is going to go down..
Old Coot – Keep that kid quiet!
Daddy – He is 2 and doesn’t know his manners yet. But neither do you, so mind your frigging business.


July 17th, 2011
4:40 pm

Part of the problem is parents showing NO SENSE in where they take their kids and what time. No one wants to sit around screaming, hungry toddlers at 7:30 pm in a nice restaurant –heck, anywhere.
I am one of the old grumps. Parents need to use their brains before they subject themselves, their kids, or others to inappropriate dining choices.

Now, I have not read what others say, but I will guess there will be some who say,”It’s my money, I have the RIGHT to take my kids anywhere!” If that is so, take them to a strip bar. What? You can’t take them in there? Gee whiz, why?

I think there should be restaurants that are kids free zones. I also think restaurant managers ought to have the %&$# to show families that misbehave (or loud drunks also) to the door.


July 17th, 2011
5:12 pm

Several years ago my two daughters and a friend went out to eat at O’Charleys in Canton. Several guys nearby got loud and started speculating about my younger daughter’s and her friend’s sexual experience ({they were about 14)}. My older daughter was livid, but before she could do anything the waiter came up and cautioned the men that they needed to quiet down and leave the girls alone. When they did not, the manager brought their bill, and told them they had a couple of minutes to pay it and get out, or the cops would be called. When I heard about this, I was so grateful to the server and the manager for handling it. I called and told him so, and mailed the server an extra tip.

I have also, a couple of times, seen a manager speak with parents about their kids. Not often enough!

When my kids were little, if there were noise problems, one of us (usually me) took the fussy one outside while the others finished their meal. Depending on the age of the child, they may have also gotten a spanking. Didn’t happen too many times–we were too poor to eat out much!

Let me add one little story. One cold, rainy winter night when my son was 4 and his sister was 8, we left the doctor’s office 50 miles from home pretty late, and I decided we would stop at Long John Silver’s in Dalton. After we got our food, I asked my son to say the blessing and this is what he said (picture a high, long-range-carrying child’s voice): “Thank You, God, for this food. We were SO hungry, so we are so glad to have something to eat! Thank You also for Jesus Who died on the cross. We are sorry He died on the died on the cross. Amen” We raised our heads, and I noticed that EVERY PERSON in the place had stopped and was looking at us! I guess it was the childish voice saying, “We were SO hungry” or maybe it was the part about Jesus, but it was one of those times when a small child’s voice didn’t seem to get angry stares!


July 17th, 2011
8:51 pm

I guess thats my point. it seems that too many people round here think that it is their god given right not to have to hear a child’s voice. That no more of a right than i have to not have to listen to a old geezer hacking up a pork-chop, or see a young couple kissing. live and let live.
Or you can have a “talk” outside with daddy grizzly.


July 17th, 2011
10:27 pm

@Daddy: I have no problem with hearing a child’s happy voice — but the parent’s right to have an unruly child in a restaurant stops just short of the line where I, too, can enjoy my visit to the restaurant. The people with the 2 year old at the table beside us were miserable — did they honestly think that none of the rest of the restaurant could hear their little whiny darlin’, either? No — because they didn’t THINK. Would you seriously take someone “outside” to “talk” because they let you know that your kid was making their dinner miserable? You’d be outside, alright — because the manager would be showing you out, and if you were still unsure about it, you’d be having the public nuisance laws explained to you by the nice policeman.

I got back into town late last night and met my husband, who had been out of town for a couple of weeks. To unwind and relax over a drink an a nice dessert, we stopped by a popular coffee house/cafe in our neighborhood. It was 10:30, and it took us a few minutes to be seated. I was shocked to see a group of younger people (20-somethings) come in, one of them with a 2-3 year old clinging to their shoulder. FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE, LET THAT POOR CHILD SLEEP AT HOME! The cafe was crowded and noisy, and the poor child was miserable. The mother was overheard complaining to her friends that she never got to go anywhere anymore because of the baby, and was glad the cafe was noisy in case the child starting whining . . .

Honestly — some people should have a license to be a parent.


July 18th, 2011
5:18 am

@daddy…yes a two year old may not have learned manners yet….exactly why said child shouldnt be in certain places yet. Also the “he or she is only a baby etc” excuse is tired. If your 3 year old is “only a baby” then that exactly why that “baby” needs to learn. Being rude to a person who points out an annoying child, in front of that child only reinforces that his or her behavior is appropriate.

Problem is parents are lazy. Its easier to give a kid what they want and let them run amuck then to be the diciplinarian. Remember, your not the child’s friend….you’re their parent. Many need to start acting like it.

Also, many parents going around believing that their little pope is the cutest, smartest person ever born and no one could ever be annoyed by them…nothing worse then dealing with dekusional people.


July 18th, 2011
7:23 am


If you have not already ate a knuckle sandwich with your salad, you are tracking. It is inconsiderate oafish boneheads like you that ruin it for everyone else. Just because you can’t discipline your brat, doesn’t give you license to impose on the rest of us.
If you and your misbehaving and rude kid(s)ever sit next to a 6′2″-215 lbs., “in mountain climbing shape”, guy, having a quiet dinner, with his beloved wife and well-behaved son, keep your brats under control. We don’t go out that much, but when we do, we are courteous, and expect that in return.
Some voice inside of me guesses that you would ignore a stern warning and have that k-sandwich with ketchup.


July 18th, 2011
8:25 am

@ Daddy…you are not the only one who has been called that name. Many others have had some sense. I have told mine that we solve our problems with words not fists. To me, sad for your kid. I love most all kids and their precious voices. Hearing a voice and a wail ( sp?), whine or scream are not the same thing.

Good luck with school, most teachers and admin are not keen on being taken outside for a talk when they have shared something you may need to know, about your kid. Yes, there are old coots in school too.

DB, I have seen this too! I mentioned this 2 years ago and was cut down here. My sister and I were eating dinner at Chili’s around 9:30 p.m. The people next to us had enjoyed several drinks a piece and they had a baby in a car seat and a 3 year old who was trying to fall asleep in the booth. It looked to me, that they needed to be in bed. Glad I am not the only one wonders what that was all about!


July 18th, 2011
9:59 am

Yeah, that’ll fly. Think for a minute just how many kids go to the movies with their parents –

That argument never really holds water. For example, just knowing the restaurant owner has the backbone (and consideration) for this idea I’d give him extra business just because. People tend to move towards pleasant things, not away.

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

No, it isn’t.

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

How about your mind your own business? You should be happy a parent would handle the responsibility, instead of letting their child do what they want. When I see a parent a child in a parking lot, I mind my own business.

And the state will shut it down for health problems or discrimination.

That’s silly. No, they won’t. Drama, much?

Daddy – He is 2 and doesn’t know his manners yet. But neither do you, so mind your frigging business.

Sir, I assure you that if you were to attempt this aggressive approach with me when I address your misbehaving kids, and your apparent lack of consideration for others, you would find yourself woefully regretting it. Some of us have no problem putting your face on the table. Lose the attitude.


July 18th, 2011
10:00 am

Tell you what Daddy, let me know what restaurants you frequent so I can avoid them, and you, and your snotty little kids. Jerkoff.


July 18th, 2011
10:30 am

The first restaurant here in Atlanta that has the brains to implement this “no kids” policy will make more money than God! Adults will flock to it like Muslims to Mecca. There is nothing and I mean nothing more maddening than young, spoiled, horrid children, whether it’s the parent’s fault or not. And parents, you really should just stay home and perhaps cook something for your out of control spawn and let them run wild through your own homes. For the big talking guy who’s gonna put somebody’s face on the table for rightly correcting his horrible kid, bring it on, tough guy and say hello to an assault charge and then jail. Who’s gonna feed your kids then, you tool?


July 18th, 2011
10:35 am

I just had a thought…imagine it :)

Some school districts are banning ANY garments worn to school with ANY lettering on them.
Probably because those who wear certain items are not displaying common sense and so it is easier to simply ban all clothing with logos or letters.

Some parents are not displaying common sense and so it is just easier to ban their children.

Am I the only one who sees this?


July 18th, 2011
4:24 pm

For the big talking guy who’s gonna put somebody’s face on the table for rightly correcting his horrible kid, bring it on, tough guy and say hello to an assault charge and then jail.

You misread my post. I was rebutting “Daddy” who is the one who doesn’t want his children corrected by other people and doesn’t care to be considerate.

Besides, 60 seconds is all it takes to get the job done then disappear. You can’t jail someone who’s not there. :)