Things are not always as they appear to be. Our recent story "The waitress, the autistic girl and the broken hamburger" shared the experiences of Anna Kaye MacLean, a young woman who was deeply touched by the kindness of a Chili's server to her seven-year-old sister Arianna, who has autism.
While many people interpret Arianna's behavior - sometimes involving violent tantrums and grunting - as uncontrolled brattiness, her older sister will take the time to explain the condition if asked. Occasionally, fellow restaurant patrons will ask to be moved to other tables, give dirty looks, or criticize MacLean's handling of the situation. While the family has never been asked to leave a restaurant, they're keenly aware of other patrons' comfort and will leave of their own accord.
Scenes like this play out in public every day, as evidenced by the over 650 comments that poured in when we posted the story. In observance of National Autism Awareness Month and April 2, World Autism Awareness Day, we're sharing insight from some of our commenters who have experience weathering the minefield that is a restaurant meal.
Last Sunday was just an average morning for Anna Kaye MacLean. Her sister, 7-year-old Arianna, had slept over at her house the night before and seemed to have woken up in a good mood - which is not always a given for a child with autism.
After determining that Arianna’s mood was stable enough for a day of fun activities outside the home, MacLean and her husband decided to take Arianna out to lunch, with a bonus visit to the Easter Bunny afterward. They decided to eat lunch at the Chili’s Bar and Grill in Midvale, Utah, where a beautiful thing happened - and went viral.
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That was the question posed last week, and more than 21,000 readers weighed in saying that restaurants with stated policies about children's unruly behavior would actually entice them to spend money there.
While Firefly executive chef Danny Bortnick has taken steps to make his restaurant more kid-friendly, it is a two-way street - your kids need to act right.
And before you go off thinking Bortnick is some kind of booster seat hater, he is a father - and his restaurant is in the middle of Washington D.C.'s Dupont Circle: a densely populated urban neighborhood often busy with families and young kids.
Five Ways to Make Your Child More Restaurant-Friendly: Danny Bortnick
No one enjoys listening to crying children while they're dining out, and parents are no exception.
Mindful parents - and there are many of them - know the drill when it comes to eating out with children. They stick to family friendly restaurants, know the signs of an oncoming outburst and won’t hesitate to scoop up their children at first wail. That is if they decide to take the kids out in the first place.
Those parents wish restaurants didn’t need to publicly state policies for dealing with unruly children or even ban them outright. They shudder when the media shines a spotlight on establishments that go that route; the controversy gives parents a bad name.
Burger King and Chili’s are among the 19 restaurant chains that are voluntarily limiting unhealthy fats, sugars and sodium in children's meals.
The National Restaurant Association kicked off its new "Kids LiveWell" campaign on Wednesday in 15,000 locations nationwide.
The other participating restaurants include: Au Bon Pain, Bonefish Grill, Burgerville, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Chevys Fresh Mex, Corner Bakery Cafe, Cracker Barrel, Denny’s, El Pollo Loco, Friendly’s, IHOP, Joe’s Crab Shack, Outback Steakhouse, Silver Diner, Sizzler, T-Bones Great American Eatery and zpizza.
Those restaurants involved in the "Kids LiveWell" campaign must:
We recently shared the story of Olde Salty's - a restaurant in North Carolina with a policy banning screaming children from the premises. Comments are still raging, and we'll share stories from both of the high chair later today, but the video above raises an issue, and we'd like to hear your stance and stories.
Why? Because understanding starts with conversation - even if you've got a differing point of view. Consider this your virtual dinner table.
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Says one patron, "You can't help if your kids scream." Says Brenda Armes, owner of Olde Salty's, of her "no screaming kids" policy, "If they find it offending, I suggest they find another restaurant to eat at."
Over 1,900 of you had something to say on the issue of kids in upper echelon restaurants when we addressed the topic a few months back. Wanna sound off on this restaurant's policy? Share your thoughts below and we may include them in an upcoming post.
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