Another battle in the fight over where parents can take their kids for a bite to eat has sparked controversy.
It seems like there's always a new restaurant taking a side on the matter. Some have banned young children entirely, while others have offered parents discounts if their kids show good behavior at the dinner table. At the same time, parents have been speaking out about what it's like to eat out while you have young children.
Now a pizza restaurant and bar in Tampa, Florida has weighed in on the argument, and local parents are upset. The new sign on the front door of the Hampton Station restaurant warns parents "NO CHILDREN" in bright pink letters. The new rule came as a shock to some families, who say they have been eating there for years.
An image of the sign was post on Facebook's Tampa Bay Moms Group to let local parents voice their thoughts on the decision. Some say the restaurant advertises itself as a "beer garden," meaning parents shouldn't expect the Station to be kid-friendly in the first place.
But other insist they've been going to the restaurant for pizza with their children for years. As the arguments raged, the business owner was forced to explain his decision...
Troy Taylor opened the Station two years ago, and its selection of craft beer and pizza has made it a success.
But while he admits Tampa Bay families have been enjoying his food since the day he opened, he blames the new "no children" rule on legal liability. "We had a few incidents the past couple of weeks where kids were endangering themselves and other patrons," he wrote in another neighborhood Facebook group.
"From a liability standpoint we just can't afford to have that. So after a long discussion and plenty of thought on the issue, we decided this was our best course of action. It's a hard decision and I'm sure it's going to hurt our business, but I just couldn't live with the fact that a child might get hurt at Hampton."
While many parents respect Taylor's choice, they say it's already hard enough to find a family-friendly restaurant these days.
"When we exclude children, we must remember we are also excluding parents and women from [patronizing] local food spots," one local woman wrote. "I loved visiting this place during lunch with my husband and child. [...] We will no longer be patrons at this establishment.”
Whether or not Hampton Station sticks to their rule after the backlash, it's clear that this debate won't be over any time soon.
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