Restaurant Owner Turns Away Kids, Becomes My Hero



Calling all entitled parents who believe their children should be allowed to do anything and everything their little hearts desire: a restaurant in Harlem might not want your little snot-nosed brats all up in their pizza place. According to DNAinfo, a woman had her reservation canceled when Bad Horse Pizza learned that her party of 12 would include up to 9 children. Servers around the country were releasing an audible sigh of “thank you.” So what did this angry mom do when her reservation was cancelled? She went to the Internet to complain about it of course and she did so at a parent listserve called Harlem4Kids. She wrote, “They basically said that they don’t want a lot of kids or parties in their restaurant. I told them that it wasn’t a party, that we were coming there after the movies, but they still said no.” From what I gather, Bad Horse Pizza is a rather upscale, linen napkin and tablecloth kind of place. In other words, it ain’t no Chuck E. Cheese, honey. Bad Horse Pizza owner John Kandel explained that it isn’t that they have a policy about no kids but instead it’s on a case-by-case basis. If the reservation is during a high peak time, he’d rather have nine adults in those seats instead of nine children. Let’s be honest. Nine kids are not going to spend as much money as nine adults and restaurants are in the business to make money, contrary to what many people may believe. Kandel also said, “A few weeks ago a kid was standing on his chair with his shirt off and I didn’t say anything. Over time I’ve had to tailor what I do because some people let their kids treat my store really disrespectfully by standing on stuff, pulling on curtains and wiping bloody noses with my napkins.” Everyone please bow down to John Kandel. And can someone find the mom who thought it was fine for her kid to stand on a chair shirtless so we can smack her up against the side of her head?

Of course there are people who are going to want to start a protest and whine that children are being discriminated against, but I say let’s throw a fucking parade for John Kandel so more people will know about this restaurant where kids don’t rule the roost. Aren’t there plenty of diners out there who would love to go to a restaurant if they could be guaranteed that they won’t be sitting next to a wailing toddler crying for more crayons and tokens for the Whack-A-Mole? (This ain’t no Chuck E,. Cheese, honey.) I said it on the Dr. Phil Show and I’ll say it again. If there are hundreds and hundreds of restaurants that don’t care how many kids you have hanging off your teats, then there should be just a few restaurants that say, “we’d rather you leave your children at home with a babysitter so you and all of our customers can have an adult night out.” I don’t see anything wrong with that. And let’s not forget that Bad Horse Pizza didn’t flat out ban kids. They just said that from an economic stand point, at certain times it would be better if they had more adults in their restaurant and fewer asshole babies.

I went to the Bad Horse Pizza Facebook page and praised them for standing up to parents who don’t know how to handle their children. Feel free to do so as well. You know at any moment some Mommy Brigade is going to full out attack him so we want to make sure that they know some of us out here applaud his decision. Honestly, I wish there was a way to satisfy everyone and I think I have a solution. If we must let misbehaved children into a restaurant, would it be wrong to offer parent simple cages to keep the child in? It will be for the safety of the child, really. We don’t want to risk that the poor little angel is wandering around the restaurant and gets caught under a server’s legs who is carrying a big tray of food. The cage can have a nice blanket in the bottom of it for extra comfort and of course there would be a feeding gate. I think we have come up with the solution! Cages for everyone!

41 thoughts on “Restaurant Owner Turns Away Kids, Becomes My Hero

  1. Nicole

    I don’t have kids and have chosen not to have kids and see this happening all the time at restaurants where parents let their kids basically trash the place! Although I recently learned that not all kids are horrible, having visited a local Pizza Hut we were seated at a booth on the other side of the room from the only other occupants, a couple at another booth. To my dismay I overheard the waitresses talking about a kids birthday party coming in soon as they began pulling tables together RIGHT NEXT TO US! Seriously, I thought to myself and knew my partner was thinking the same, of all the open areas in here you’re putting a kids party RIGHT NEXT TO US? Turns out they were VERY well behaved and quiet children, thank goodness, or I may never have returned. I’m still very disappointed in the wait staff.

  2. Jackie

    Thank heavens that most replies agree with the restaurant! A lot of comments on blogs are littered with people going ape-shit because their child is entitled to go anywhere, behave how it likes, with little regard for other people.

    Allowing your children to behave in a disrespectful, loud way, with little regard for others seems to be unique to the UK and USA. Whenever we’ve been on holiday in Spain or France, children and large families frequently come out late to eat. You wouldn’t know the children were there. They sit down, eat their food, talk politely and at a normal voice and never run around. It seems they are taught manners and how to behave in certain places. But then the British families come in. Not all, but many drag their poor kids out when they’re tired, cranky and bored. They allow their children to be disruptive, rude and loud.

    I applaud the restaurant owner of Bad Horse Pizza. For a start, it’s his place and he can allow whomever in he wants! Secondly, I’m glad the large party of children were turned away, there are a million and one chain pizza places they can go to, where they are more child-friendly. I am sick of going out and my evening being subject to a family’s screaming child, because all the parent is bothered about is getting drunk, and has a casual disregard for other people.

  3. Can I get a water with lemon

    Cages? that is so ridiculous. Do you think they are animals? Clearly they need to be soundproofed boxes. I am open to the idea of some type of feeding hole yet remain unconvinced if it would actually be necessary.
    Always sit at the bar.

  4. Dale

    I remember going to restaurants with my parents when I was a child … but from the time we got out of high chairs we learned manners and how to act at a table … restaurant or home. May God have mercy on us if we misbehaved in a restaurant, the least punishment was spending the rest of the time in the car while everyone else was eating (except for the parent who had to sit in the car with the misbehaving miscreant). Rarely were they happy about that. I don’t mind kids at Micky D’s or someplace like that but in a sitdown restaurant, unless they are well behaved I’d rather they stay at home.

  5. crankymomna

    I am a mom and I totally approve. Nothing irritates me more than date night at an up scale restaurant and I hear a screaming kid. Look I paid a sitter to enjoy my meal in piece not to mention a pricey bill. Oh and 10 at night is not the time to go out with kids for dinner 😉

  6. Tone

    The restaurant should make it all or nothing. Allowing parties with small children “on a case by case basis” only invites charges of unfairness. If they desire an adult clientele then put some teeth into that policy and refuse to seat anyone under say sixteen.

    And while I’m ranting, couldn’t airlines designate at least *some* flights adult only? The only thing worse than traveling on the redeye is traveling on the redeye with a colicky toddler behind you.

    1. Tipsykit

      I would happily pay extra to fly on a child free plane!!! I always seem to wind up right next Toddler McScreamyPants, especially when it’s an early morning flight.

      1. Reginald Van Der Slythe III

        Seconded. I want to say an airline in Asia was trying that. I could be wrong. I’d gladly pay for the privilege, though, and wish they’d do it.

  7. MrsMac

    I am expecting my first rugrat and I do not see the problem with child-free restaurants. There are plenty of child-friendly places out there to choose from. Some settings just aren’t appropriate for children. And that isn’t a new concept. There has always existed certain establishments that do not cater for children. What IS new is the idea that precious little darlings should be allowed to attend every event and establishment.

  8. Jenn

    I honestly love it when kids mess with the blinds or scream at the top of their lungs at my restaurant, at least when my boss is there. It drives her absolutely bat-shit-crazy. She deserves it. <3

    1. guest

      you fuckin’ traitor! why the hell would you want kids messin’ around in a restaurant and drive your boss crazy?! if i’m that employer of yours, i’d not only throw all those kids outta that place forever. i’d also fire you and never let you be a customer there.

  9. Leah Messick

    I’m a server and a mother and am behind him 100%…kids are rude and disrespectful and parents let them. I seriously doubt 3 adults could control 9 kids!! It would have been a free for all making it miserable on the other patrons. Plus like he said he has to pay the rent! 9 kid meals would equal maybe 4 adult meals so he’s losing out! We wouldn’t let someone come stay at our house use our water our heat our food etc.etc. and only pay 4.99! So parents who feel this is discrimination get over yourselves!!

  10. Jessica

    Kudos to that restaurant. I am 8 months pregnant and would never make anyone else subject to my child’s temper tantrums or bursts of crying, screaming and wailing. People go out to splurge on themselves not listen to my child cry. I’ve been in the service industry for way too long to put anyone through that. If I want to go out with my child and I’m not sure if the place is kid friendly you best believe I’ll be calling them first to make sure.

  11. joe c

    Google for “Park Slope syndrome” and read the 2006 NYT article that comes up. That sums up my opinion.

    Speaking of Park Slope, wasn’t there a coffee shop there years ago that tried to implement a “no strollers” policy but the backlash was so bad they reluctantly took it back and apologized?

    (Me, I would litter the walls with artwork containing nudes and adult language and play annoying supersonic frequencies only babies could hear and see how well that worked.)

  12. Berny

    Age discrimination. Pure and simple. If they want to have a cover charge to get in, make the public establishment a private one, they can do whatever they please. I’m surprised they have not yet been charged. Some upstart attorney stands to make a fantastic name for him or herself by shutting down the pretentious tactics of this bigot.

    1. April

      There is no such thing as age discrimination against children. Sorry, it’s not a protected class. Children can’t drink, smoke, drive or any number of things adults get to do. Tough shit, it’s life. And guess what else? It’s a privately owned business. He gets to make the rules. Just like all the bars that don’t allow children in, with or without a cover charge

    2. MrsMac

      Children aren’t allowed in bars, strip clubs or sex shops either. Damned bigoted establishments. Why will nobody think of the children?

        1. MrsMac

          There is, and always have been, dining establishments that do not accommodate children. Just as there are places that are appropriate for children, there are also places (including restaurants) that are not. It isn’t breaking any law, no matter what you may like to think. I am sure that Bad Horses patrons thank them for their consideration of other diners when refusing to cater for childrens parties. When you visit a nice establishment for a nice meal, the last thing you expect is to wind up in a noisy child-care centre.

      1. guest

        you’re the friggin’ bigot, you hypocritical and self-righteous bitch! those place have good reason to forbid kids ‘cuz they’re too young for that shit.

        it’s ironic that you whined about certain establishments for not thinkin’ of children when you sound like kids deserve to be at places that are only for adults, which is harmful to them. so do mea favor and shove your child-lovin’ bullshit up your ass!

    3. Mark Messipaunts

      Also, establishments have the right to refuse service to anyone. If you walk in drunk and we don’t serve you, are we discriminating against drunks or alcoholics, no. If you don’t get a bank loan based on your income, is that class discrimination, no its smart business. Also, other customers have rights in restaurant, and it is to enjoy their meal in a reasonable environment. Your kid screaming is not that, but if you think that’s ok to have a kid screaming in your ear, im sure you have a problem with the 16 year old with the super loud bass system driving in your neighborhood.

    4. Robert

      Thank You!

      Reading a comment where someone acts like they are all authoritative and knowledgeable when it is clear they don’t have a clue what they are talking about always brings a smile to my face.

      Your comment almost made me literally LOL! 😉

    5. Reginald Van Der Slythe III

      First of all, they’re not banning all children, which you’d know if you were able to read for comprehension. Whoops, so much for your precious “age discrimination.”

      Second, right to refuse service. Look into it.

      Third, no lawyer in their right mind would take such a ridiculous, likely-to-be-thrown-out case.

      Finally, you’re a pathetic crybaby moron and I hope you never breed. Sadly, though, you probably already have.

  13. Christine

    If this were Crapplebee’s or Chuck E Cheese or any other chain place known for being kid-friendly, then I’d side with the mother here. But I looked at the Facebook page and from there, the restaurant’s website, and as Bitchy says, it does look rather upscale for a pizza place. If I walked into a place like that and saw a big table with nine kids and three adults, I’d probably turn around, walk out, and eat someplace else. And so would many of my friends, even those who have kids of their own. Mr. Kandel knows that the money he could have made from potential customers this table would have driven away would outweigh whatever he would make from said table.

    There are plenty of restaurants that cater to families with children, and I get that. I can choose not to go to these places. But kids do not belong in every damned fucking place in the world. I applaud Mr. Kandel and the increasing number of restaurant owners who understand this and take action. I’m childfree by choice, but I know parents who will pay good money for a babysitter so they can have dinner at a nice place. Why should they have to listen to other people’s kids running around and screaming? Why should anyone, unless they went to Chuck E Cheese?

    If I ever visit New York City, I will be sure to stop by Bad Horse Pizza for a meal and some beers, and thank John Kandel in person, if he’s there at the time.

  14. April

    I’m a mom of 2. Older kids, so they don’t scream like the littler ones, but they come with their own set of annoyances when eating out. I would love, LOVE a restaurant in my area that was decently priced that was child free. Would love it to be loud drunk free as well, but I’ll take what I can get.

    I like kids. I have some. I also know that they can be loud, annoying, stinky and shrill. sometimes, I just like a bit of time without all that.

  15. SkippyMom

    Bravo to Bad Horse Pizza. His restaurant, his rules. I like ’em.
    I am a Mom to 5 [mostly grown now] but if a restaurant decided that my 5 and 4 of their friends weren’t welcome with a few adults, then so be it. I am a former server, and we would’ve been drawing straws on taking a table like that during peak time.
    Yes, it’s a pizza restaurant, kids love pizza, but right after a movie, hopped up on sugar and soda, and already having to have sat still for two hours – just how wired does *Mom* think these kids are going to be? She can say [and other Mommies too] that they are such well-behaved kids and will act accordingly but take it from someone who has *been there, done that* it takes only one bad apple to spoil the whole bunch baby – and there is one in that group.
    I am off to their FB page to applaud their decision. 🙂

  16. Katie

    I’m a mom. I have a toddler. We choose restaurants that are kid-friendly.. and if we’re even thinking the restaurant isn’t pro-kiddo, or if the kiddo is cranky — we don’t bring her. Simple choice. We could make a flow chart! Step one – look at menu. Is there a kids menu? No? DON’T GO.


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