The kids-in-restaurants issue always seems to cause one of the most ferocious debates surrounding dining. Parents feel as though restaurants are unwelcoming to families; diners without children feel as though kids are likely to ruin their meals at adjoining tables. And don't even get started on what servers think.
A restaurant in Virginia has taken the bold step of simply denying entry to anyone under 18. The Sushi Bar, a restaurant that opened this week, won't allow kids at all. The reasoning is that the owners feel as though if parents need a night out, away from their own kids, then it's not fair to make them deal with other people's children once they're at a restaurant.
It's a nice thought, although the people most likely to complain about kids while dining out aren't parents who want a break from children in general, but people without kids who just want to stay as far as possible away from the little beasties. We've all heard the horror stories of a nice meal out ruined by bratty kids the next table over, but it's rarely someone with kids doing the complaining.
As one commenter on our 2011 post Top 10: Most Kid-Unfriendly Restaurants in Los Angelesput it, "If I spend my hard earned money at Providence or Bazaar, I have no desire to hear your two year old shrieking at the top of its lungs or your 8 year [old] having a tantrum because she wants to go home ... Kids don't appreciate fine dining and I don't appreciate your selfishness in bringing them where they aren't wanted, and where they don't want to be either. Solution: hire a sitter or eat at Chuck E Cheese."
More often, I hear parents complaining that restaurants treat them poorly when they arrive with even very well-behaved children. In comments on that same post, many parents complained of poor treatment with kids at Lukshon, which seemed at least anecdotally to have an unofficial policy of only seating kids on the patio.
As someone who eats out regularly with my kid, I've really experienced no such bias. Generally people are pretty charmed by a kid who is well-behaved and likes to eat boatloads of charcuterie. That includes the staff, and also the other patrons in the restaurant.