Ban Babies from Fine Dining Spots? Chef Sparks "Fussy" Debate

Disruptive infant at Alinea raises question of whether to allow babies in high-end restaurants

Monday, Jan 13, 2014  |  Updated 9:43 PM EDT
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A tweet from one of Chicago's top chefs stirs debate on a controversial subject- should babies be allowed in upscale restaurants?  LeeAnn Trotter reports.

A tweet from one of Chicago's top chefs stirs debate on a controversial subject- should babies be allowed in upscale restaurants? LeeAnn Trotter reports.

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One of Chicago's top chefs has touched a nerve by sounding off on a controversial subject: bringing babies to restaurants. 

Diners at Alinea, a pricey Windy City spot named one of the world's top restaurants, were reportedly put off by a couple who brought an 8-month-old baby to dinner on Saturday after their baby sitter bailed at the last minute. 

Predictably, the baby caused a ruckus, upsetting the other diners in the restaurant.

Grant Achatz, Alinea's award-winning chef, appeared to be torn on the best way to handle similar situations in the future, tweeting he isn't sure whether to tell customers that no kids are allowed, or subject diners to the crying.

"Ppl take infants 2 plays? Concerts? Hate saying no, but...," Achatz tweeted.

The Internet is full of tips for parents on which restaurants are "baby-friendly" or "kid-friendly." Restaurants that make these types of lists usually boast space for high-chairs and stroller parking, or acoustics that can drown out a fussy baby. 

Responders to Achatz's tweet, however, appear to overwhelmingly back leaving the baby at home when dining at a swanky establishment like Alinea.

One person tweeted that he'd "be livid" if he had gone to a "fine dining experience and "had to sit through a crying baby."

Another noted that "I don't bring my bottle of whiskey" to Chuck E. Cheese's.

And not surprisingly, an @AlineaBaby Twitter account has already popped up.

Alinea is consistently rated the top restaurant in Chicago, and last year, Restaurant magazine named it No. 15 in the world.

 

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