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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Pizza place warns parents: Control your kids

Our colleague Laura Reiley reports here that Cappy's pizzeria in Seminole Heights has had it with unruly children, prompting the owner to ban kids from the patio area and to post a sign in the restaurant warning: "For the comfort and safety of everybody, if you allow your child to run, scream or misbehave, you will be asked to leave."

While some are applauding the owner's courage for calling out the parents of misbehaving children, others are saying it's an awfully hostile sign for a pizza place that from outward appearces looks kid-friendly.

This is clearly a hot topic for diners and for owners. In St. Petersburg, Beak's Old Florida has a clearly marked "no kids" policy for the whole restaurant, calling itself "a place for grownups over 21."  Mike Vuick, owner of McDain's in Monroeville, Pa., made national news last year by announcing the restaurant would no longer admit children under 6. At issue? Crying and other toddler noise that disturbed fellow diners. Grant Central Pizza in Atlanta made news for posting on the menu that all crying small people should be taken outside.

"When I was growing up and we went out to eat, I had to sit down at the table and behave myself," Cappy's owner Scooter Gabel told Reiley. "If I had done the things I see, my mother would have spanked me publicly."

But the hostile tone has turned off one of his customers, Marisa Langford, 33, a mother of three with another baby on the way, says signs like this make parents feel unwelcome.

"As a parent I'm already a target because I have three kids under seven. I see the eye rolls. At Cappy's, there could have been a "keep Cappy's safe" campaign or something posted that showed a little more respect for parents. The signs have slowed down my patronage of Cappy's — you don't want to go somewhere where you don't feel welcome."

Having been worked as a waitress she knows there are some "parents out there who ruin it for other parents."

So how should the owner have handled this, mamas? Are parents wrong to feel unjustly targeted because of the behavior of a few?

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Follow us on Twitter @WhoaMomma

[Last modified: Friday, May 11, 2012 12:05pm]


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