Italian families are known for being warm and inviting, with delicious food. Often, large families invite neighbors, friends, and even work colleagues to be part of the fun. With this in mind, it’s surprising that an Italian restaurant in New Jersey has banned children from attending.
Nettie’s Says Goodbye to Kids
Nettie’s is an Italian restaurant in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, with a reputation as a retro-themed eatery. The staff of the popular restaurant recently created a Facebook post, explaining they would be on a ‘winter break.’ Additionally sharing, the day they come back to work, a new ban would be in place. Effective March 8th, 2023, the Italian restaurant has respectfully opted out of allowing anyone under the age of 10 to dine in.
The statement, uploaded to Nettie’s Facebook page began, “We love kids. We really, truly, do. But lately, it’s been extremely challenging to accommodate children at Nettie’s.“ Continuing, “Between noise levels, lack of space for highchairs, cleaning up crazy messes, and the liability of kids running around the restaurant, we have decided that it’s time to take control of the situation. This wasn’t a decision that was made lightly, but some recent events have pushed us to implement this new policy.”
With more than 10,000 shares, the post has elicited a positive response, with most patrons, community members, and fellow wait staff in support. However, some families have disapproved because this decision also applies to well-behaved children. The Italian restaurant ended its post by simply explaining that some families will be upset about the decision but that they feel this is the best choice going forward. Nettie’s isn’t the first restaurant to make this decision. or even the first Italian restaurant to do so.
Another Italian Restaurant Implements Similar Ban
Caruso’s is an upscale Italian eatery in Mooresville, North Carolina, that placed a ban on patrons under the age of 15 back in 2017. Owner Pasquale Caruso decided when the restaurant’s manager, Yoshi Nunez, came forward expressing concern over an event that had become the final straw. Nunez explained he was no stranger to kids misbehaving but one encounter where the wait staff repeatedly asked a family to turn down an iPad resulted in the family being asked to leave.
“Finally, we had to ask them to leave,” Nunez told The Washington Post in an interview detailing the events leading to the ban. “They were upset, but they didn’t seem to care about what the other guests thought. We tried to be nice about the situation, but we’re here to take care of customers and we can’t tell a parent how to control their kids.” The owner reported that since placing the ban their number of daily reservations had increased by around 30%.
Read: Woman calls for child-free suburbs because she doesn’t want to live near screaming kids
Other Restaurants Follow Suit
The trend of banning children has been on the rise for the last several years. In 2013 La Fisheria in Houston banned children under eight after 7 pm. There is a growing list of restaurants and businesses following suit. Unfortunately, there are several parents and families who will find these changes to be a disruption. However, many couples out on a date, without their own children, or out for a childless celebration will greatly appreciate a peaceful environment during their meal.
It’s no secret that “gentle parenting” is on the rise. While this is great for a number of reasons, there are also a few downsides. One adverse effect is how children conduct themselves in public. Without balance and some discipline, children have forgotten their manners. So, should children be banned from restaurants?
A Manners Mentor, named Maralee Mckee, discloses sarcastically that she “absolutely” thinks it’s acceptable. “As long as at the same time we also ban cell phone Yackers, folks laughing and celebrating and loudly disturbing those around them who want a quiet dinner, and people over 90. Their walkers, requests for doggie bags, and complaining that the restaurant is either too cold or too hot is, let’s face it, not pleasant. While we’re at it, let’s ban people who are ill, physically challenged, of different races, religions, or political parties.” she wrote, continuing, “I hope you’re catching my sarcasm and how the whole idea of banning children is as wrong as banning any person or group of people. It’s bigotry.”
Adults need an environment, that offers peace after an overstimulating day at work. Moreover, sometimes children don’t have the capacity to sit still and quiet for an entire meal. There are 2 possible solutions.
One solution may be places with indoor play spaces. For example, although the food quality is hotly debated, most Mcdonald’s have a play area where kids can go crazy. When restaurants follow this example, it will create a more comfortable environment for families. On the other hand, there are certain upscale places that should be for adults only to enjoy a peaceful meal without interruption.
However, the second possible solution takes the best of both worlds. Children tend to go to bed earlier than adults. Therefore, closing the restaurant to children after a certain time, like La Fisheria, appeals to a wider audience.
Nettie’s Italian restaurant has made a difficult decision; they aren’t the only one. Children running around become a tripping hazard for someone else or a choking hazard to themselves. This makes the waitstaff’s jobs much more challenging. While the argument is how children conduct themselves publicly, the bigger issue is safety and is commonly reflected in each of these restaurants’ statements.
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- “Italian restaurant in New Jersey banning children under 10.” WSB. Bob D’Angelo. February 11, 2023
- “After ‘classy’ restaurant bans kids, critics fume – and reservations surge. The Florida Times-Union. Peter Holley. April 1, 2017.
- “Should unruly children be banned from restaurants?” Etiquette School of America. Maralee McKee. Retrieved February 15, 2023.
- “Got kids under 10? they’re banned from this New Jersey Italian restaurant.” USA Today. Jean Mikle. February 13, 2023.