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. (Read more fine dining stories.)