Sunday, January 12, 2014
'BabyGate' Happened At Alinea Saturday & Twitterverse Explodes In Response
The Grant Achatz tweet that set the Internet ablaze Saturday night (Photo: 312 Dining Diva)
After what happened this weekend it looks like I need to drag out this article again regarding small children and social graces in restaurants.
When I originally wrote it in 2013, I had restaurants like Blackbird, Naha and Perennial Virant in mind. No freaking way did I ever think someone would think to take a child—let alone an infant—to the likes of the three star Michelin rated Alinea (Check out this list of the best child-friendly restaurants in Chicago).
As soon as Alinea chef/partner Grant Achatz posted that already-infamous tweet around 7pm Saturday, the Internet exploded in response. I was pretty shocked with how many people were in defense of the parents—who allegedly had a last-minute babysitter cancellation.
Here are the Top 21 twitter responses of the night:
"Which is worse...crying baby at the next table or pretentious asshole douchebag?"
"Wait. Someone brought an infant to Alinea? What in the actual fuck?"
"Charge the infant for a full menu. That will stop it quickly."
"We can barely enjoy a 30 minute stretch, w/o crying, during dinner at home with a newborn, let alone Alinea. Not appropriate!!"
"If I'm splurging on a big ticket dinner, I guarantee I don't want a screaming baby soundtrack."
"If you can afford a meal at Alinea, you can afford a sitter. How inconsiderate."
"Everyone seems to be addressing the sitter issue. Why not maintain a restaurant policy governing disruptive people? Does it exist?"
"Our son has been out quite a bit. We eat out early. We eat out on off nights. We eat where we know the chef and know it's cool."
"Speaking as a mom and a restaurant owner I would NEVER take an 8mo old to a restaurant like Alinea."
"Part of lure of Alinea experience is you control all the sights/sounds/tastes. Non planned noise breaks that quiet."
"I don't know how you take an 8 mo old to Alinea and not step out if s/he cries. Selfish. You take crying kid outside. Period."
"I agree 100%. Little kids do not belong in high end restaurants. And they don't want to be there either. Hire a babysitter people!"
"If people save up to go for a special night it's hard to flush several hundred down the drain. Especially if they do it 1 x/yr."
"If the kid isn't old enough to bargain for their patience they shouldn't be there. Kids mature differently though. Gray lines."
"Hard when you shell out that money for non cancel able tics and lose sitter last minute. That is a ticket vs. reservation issue."
"What are they supposed to do if their sitter cancelled at the last minute? $1,000 worth of non-refundable tickets."
"A sad statement on society when stunts like these are pulled and ruin everyone's night."
"I should start offering my #adventuresinbabysitting services to certain restaurants in the city..."
"I'd be furious if I fought for that ticket/experience and had to listen to a crying kid."
"Fancy restos should not have to specify no babies in precisely same way they should not have to specify yes pants."
And the BEST TWEET OF THE NIGHT:
"I don't bring my bottle of whiskey to Chuck E. Cheese, please don't bring your infant to Alinea. And yes. If you can afford a ticket to Alinea, then you can afford a babysitter."
After this firestorm, there will likely be some policy changes regarding children at Alinea—as well as at Achatz's seasonal and theme-inspired restaurant Next.
UPDATE: And now some silly adult with way too much time on his/her hands has actually created an @AlineaBaby twitter account.