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Restaurants Spark Controversy by Banning Kids

Kelcey Kintner, an award winning journalist and freelance writer, is a fashion critic for US Weekly and created the humor blog The Mama Bird Diaries. She also writes for Alpha Mom, The Huffington Post and other outlets. You can follow he...

Can restaurants institute a no-kids policy?

There are lots of places to eat with your children on a European vacation, but here's one place that won't let you in the door. A seafood restaurant in Rome, La Fraschetta del Pesce, has taken the bold move of banning children under 5.

The owner Marco Magliozzi (who refers to kids as "little uncontrollable terrors") told an Italian news site, "They throw olive oil on the floor, they upturn the water, they send the salt cellar flying across the room, they try to dismantle the furniture, they shout, they cry and above all, they hate fish."

Sounds like the fish put Magliozzi over the edge. (Not even the dismantling of the furniture did it!) So he posted a sign on the front door that reads, "Due to some unpleasant incidents caused by a lack of manners, children under 5 are not allowed in this restaurant."

More: Good-Kid Discounts: Coming to a Restaurant Near You, Maybe

Of course, there have been complaints — like a dad who was turned away with his 2-month-old baby. That newborn wouldn't have dismantled any furniture! I do remember taking my 2-month-old baby to a Mexican restaurant where she proceeded to cry endlessly. But I immediately took her outside. She later fell asleep and I ate a very cold quesadilla, but I never bothered any of the patrons.

And Rome's La Fraschetta del Pesce is not the only establishment giving little ones the boot. A London restaurant has also said hell no to kids. The owner (who is a mother) had had enough of the screaming, crying and SUV-size strollers blocking the path of waiters and customers in her small restaurant, The Organic Kitchen.

And parents went bloody crazy over the new policy. In fact, things got so heated on a British online parents forum, the thread had to be shut down.

But the restaurant held strong — releasing a statement on Facebook that says in part, "We have made this decision for the comfort of all of our clients and as a result of this the overwhelming reaction from the vast majority of our customers has been extremely positive."

More: The Craziest Moments of Parenting a Preschooler

Even as a parent, I kind of get it. My 3-year-old has been so awful sometimes in restaurants, I wanted to dine far away from him. But there is something insulting about being outright banned because you have a child with you. And some children are way more polite than adults.

My advice? Maybe just offer a small discount for well-behaved kids instead.

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