The Alinea Baby |

The Alinea Baby

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Not baby food — Photo by banditob
It was the wail heard round the dining world. This past Saturday night Chicago chef Grant Achatz tweeted that someone brought a baby to his three Michelin-starred Alinea and that the other diners might not have been quite so happy about it: "Tbl brings 8mo.Old. It cries. Diners mad. Tell ppl no kids? Subject diners 2crying?"

Immediately the twitterverse was ripe with questions. An 8-month old baby? Does Alinea have a puree menu? How awesome must the high chairs be at the restaurant known for its creative and innovative in-house design? Can I bring MY baby? The answers there are: Yes. No. No high chairs, the infant sat on the Mom's lap the whole time. And maybe not.

Reactions were swift and judgmental, in the way that social media does best. Some folks were outraged — if you can afford Alinea, you can afford a babysitter was a common thread. Some were sympathetic to the parents who may have had a last minute babysitter cancellation and had little choice but to bring the tyke since Alinea operates on a prepaid ticketing system. Oh and of course an @AlineaBaby twitter account was launched, perhaps before the beleagured family had even finished their meal.

The incident has reinvigorated the whole banning kids from restaurant debate, so we wanted to get our members' take on the controversy: Should there be rules about kids in restaurants? What are the rules in your restaurant? Do you take your kids out to eat? And is it ever cool to tweet about guests?


chefjoanna • 01/17/2014
>] Should there be rules about kids in restaurants? YES... and restaurateurs can make their own rules as they see fit. The economics will play outif it makes financial sense, then more haute cuisine restaurants will follow suit. Parents that have young kids should consider hiring a chef for the nightI have cooked for plenty of young families in their homes. If (when) kids get cranky, give them their toys or park them in front of the TV/iPad. When it's bedtime, the parents can just put the kids to bed, and come back to the table when they're ready. >] What are the rules in your restaurant? If I had a fine-dining restaurant, there wouldn't be high-chairs and kids' menus. That stuff is for the big chain places. Dining out is about the food AND the experience, so I'll control as much of that for my guests as I can. I've been to Alinea (and Bazaar, Animal, Postrio, Etch, Catbird Seat, Tru, MotoiNG...and more, and that's just in the U.S.) and learned a lot from those experiences, and I incorporate as much as I can when I do In-Home Fine Dining. Logistically, I can't do a 15+ course menu to the scale and degree of Alinea in my clients' homes, but I do a great job within the limits of a residential kitchen, with the additional equipment that I bring. And of course, I do it for a lot less than Alinea>] Is it ever cool to tweet about guests? NO... unless you're saying how awesome they are, which is usually the case for me
chefjoanna • 01/17/2014
cstanton001 • 02/11/2014
They have 'family' restaurants that are geared towards 'families'. A business can set their guidelines as it suits their needs. Guests post about restaurants all the time. A lot of times these keyboard assassins are anonymous and leave little or no room for answers. Yes, if you can afford the outing pay for a sitter. Babysitter cancels at the last minute? Bite the bullet and take the 'L'. Same as if one of you got sick.
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