Over the weekend, a couple brought their eight month old child to Alinea, a Chicago restaurant headed by Chef Grant Achatz that has 3 Michelin stars. Alinea is considered one of the best restaurants in the country/world, and is heralded for its complex prix fixe tasting menu that runs over $200 and is purchased with tickets. Therefore, a routine decision to bring a child out in public to this fine establishment resulted in great controversy.
Though the crying child apparently made it through the meal without being ejected from the restaurant (the Chicago Sun-Times reports via NBC Chicago that its parents had a babysitter who cancelled last minute), after the meal, Achatz tweeted about whether he should have asked the family to leave, prompting many to weigh in with their opinions, like food critic Michael Nagrant, who got a lot of flack for tweeting, "IT IS ABSURD TO BRING YOUR BABY TO ALINEA." There is now a parody Twitter account @AlineaBaby and Achatz went on Good Morning America Tuesday to discuss the incident.
Alinea co-owner Nick Kokonas explained that he thinks it's less about the baby and more about the parents with the baby. Truly, it's the adults in question that bring the real drama. Probably the only real reason to avoid bringing your child to a nice restaurant is not because you shouldn't along ethical or moral lines, but because despite our free market economy, there's no accounting for how much shit you're going to get from the tables surrounding you. It could end like the plane ride I took over Christmas where a woman somewhat rudely pointed out that a child was kicking her seat and the parent responded, "YEAH WELL KIDS DO THAT. DEAL WITH IT," an incident I feared would result in a bloodbath. Or it could be like the other plane ride I took over Christmas where a man more politely pointed out that a child was kicking his seat and the parent spent the rest of the ride dutifully making sure his kid kept his legs to himself.
You really just don't know whether such an altercation is going to leave you beheaded by your fellow patrons or not, so if possible, skip it. Safety first, for everyone involved.
Image via April Weeks/Flickr