Couple Takes Flak for Crying Baby in Elite Restaurant
Chicago's Alinea now at center of debate on diners' etiquette
By John Johnson, Newser Staff | Suggested by ChicagoScott
Posted Jan 14, 2014 5:52 PM CST
Chef Grant Achatz of Alinea in a 2008 photo.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

(Newser) – It all started with a cranky baby. But this particular baby happened to be with mom and dad as they dined at one of the nation's swankiest restaurants, Chicago's Alinea. As the baby kicked up a fuss, chef Grant Achatz says he could hear it from the kitchen. He took no action, but later tweeted this: "Tbl brings 8mo.Old. It cries. Diners mad. Tell ppl no kids? Subject diners 2crying? Ppl take infants 2 plays? Concerts? Hate saying no,but.." Since that Saturday night tweet, Achatz and his restaurant have been at the center of what's become a national debate on fine-dining etiquette, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Do babies belong at ritzy restaurants?

Much of the sentiment seems to be of the 'no way' variety, observes the Chicago Eater blog. (Sample tweet: "If you can afford a meal at Alinea, you can afford a sitter. How inconsiderate.") But 312DiningDiva is surprised at how much sympathy is out there for the parents. (Sample tweet: "Hard when you shell out that money for non cancelable tics and lose sitter last minute.") For the record, the parents' sitter did cancel at the last minute, reports NBC Chicago. And Alinea does indeed sell "tickets" to diners, usually weeks in advance, and those diners won't get their money back if they cancel. So what now? Achatz is reportedly considering a baby ban, something that surely won't sit well with the AlineaBaby parody account on Twitter.

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Showing 3 of 276 comments
Eat_Eateator
Jan 15, 2014 7:59 PM CST
A young couple dies, a delinquent youth lives. Fair trade. AND it was y'alls decision, how 'bout that?
jaydeebee
Jan 15, 2014 4:44 PM CST
There is an upscale restaurant near where my daughter lives. They have the following statement on their website: "We are an adult oriented restaurant and bar, so we do not offer a children's menu, booster seats or high chairs." I doubt the restaurant in question had these things. There's your clue. If there are no high chairs or children's menus, don't take your little one.
loveandhope
Jan 15, 2014 2:42 PM CST
Ok first of all, there is nothing wrong with taking a baby out to eat with the family if it is like McDonalds or something where there are other children and screaming babies, but I am totally against taking a baby to a nice formal restaurant because suppose I'm on a date or having an important business meeting or something. Second of all, It's important for people to be considerate and apparently, these parents were not. If their babysitter cancelled at the last minute, then they should have stayed home and took care of their child and went out to dinner another night because that's what parents do, like the restaurant isn't going anywhere. Lastly, they could have easily called and cancelled their reservation or rescheduled or something, but I must admit though, that the guy who put that on twitter was kind of immature in a way. Instead of exposing them on social media, he could have kindly asked them to leave because they were disturbing the peace. It didn't have to explode where it actually hit the news, like really.