Patrons outraged over California restaurant banning 'loud' children

A restaurant in California is making waves for its firm stance on children: Those crying or making loud noises are not allowed in the dining room.

Old Fisherman’s Grotto in Monterey has been in business since 1950 and is known for its quiet dining atmosphere, owner Chris Shake says. However, to ensure that the fine-dining establishment stays that way, the Grotto posted a sign outside the restaurant.

The sign reads, “No strollers, no high chairs, no booster chairs. Children crying or making loud noises are a distraction to other diners, and as such are not allowed in the dining room.”

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Though Shake points out the policy — and the sign — have been in place for years, it has recently been gaining attention because of a posting on social media.

"Whoa. I’ve never seen this before. I’m canceling my reservation at the restaurant after seeing this picture on Yelp — and I will not even have my toddler,” Angela Espinoza wrote in a Facebook group for Bay Area moms, Fox 11 reported.

On Yelp, the restaurant has pulled mixed reviews, with some criticizing the move as “discriminatory" and others praising the restaurant for its strong stance.

“No kids sign I saw is the sole reason this should be 0 [stars]. I don't care if the owners do charity and give to the community. People seem to think charity gives them an excuse to do whatever they want — it's quite two faced to be discriminatory while pretending you're actually a bedrock of the community. Wish I had noticed this sign earlier bc I never would have spent $ here,” one reviewer wrote on Yelp.

“At one point, another waitress told us people were complaining about our kids and could they be quiet. I've never been told to hush my kids before. When I made a comment to the waitress she told me there was a sign outside with rules for children... They are apparently not joking. She was not just unapologetic but incredibly rude about the whole incident," another customer wrote.

Many, however, are in favor of the bold policy.

“I support your child-free/no screaming kids policy! The irony of these self-centered parents complaining is that THEY are the reason this exists in the first place. EVERYONE is tired of having their meal ruined by a screaming kid and apathetic, inconsiderate, indignant parents who refuse to do anything about it,” one wrote on Yelp.

Another Yelp user wrote, “No strollers, no boosters, no high chairs. This is what got me to go into this restaurant! Just the thought that I would be able to have a peaceful meal with no kids yelling, sometimes it's needed. In all seriousness people need to not get so hurt by this. There was (sic) definitely kids inside the restaurant when we dined in."

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Shake, who is unapologetic about the rules for children, told Fox 11 it actually helps his business and points out that it’s not anti-children.

"We have many families who dine with us with their children who are well-behaved and understand our policy with respect to other diners. What we have found on those who write negative reviews about our policy are those who have not dined here but become offended by the sign and our policy," he said.

Shake also said the sign is not discriminatory to anyone and consulted with an attorney when drafting it to ensure the language was appropriate.