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Negotiating Canberra's cafes with kids

Date

Estelle Griepink

The Ryan family Dennis, Jane, and 4-year-old Hugo, from Braddon, enjoy lunch at the family friendly 'A Bite To Eat' cafe at Chifley Shops.

The Ryan family Dennis, Jane, and 4-year-old Hugo, from Braddon, enjoy lunch at the family friendly 'A Bite To Eat' cafe at Chifley Shops. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Braddon couple Dennis Ryan and Jane Gollie know not to bring their four-year-old son Hugo out to lunch without a few essentials.

Pencils and paper are supplied at Canberra's more child friendly venues, but Mr Ryan says technology works best.

“Your lifestyle changes when you become parents, you don't dine out as much,” he said.

“The reality is that kids behave better at home, when they have structure.

“So bringing a phone and some games along does help.”

After reading the bestseller French Children Don't Throw Food, Ms Gollie ordered Hugo food from the adult menu at Chifley cafe A Bite To Eat.

The book praises French parenting styles leads to kids sitting quietly at the dinner table, and eating their vegetables without complaint.

The acceptance of younger patrons is far from some of Melbourne's hip bars and restaurants who have banned kids.

The Raccoon Club's ban on minors has provoked an angry response from parents.

Bar Ettiquette has also discouraged young families, saying their patrons shouldn't have to modify adult behaviour.

While banning kids from service seems to be a new Melbourne trend, it is one the capital's bars and restaurants are unlikely to adopt.

A Bite To Eat staff member Joseph Mitchell said the cafe “would never consider banning children.”

"Mums and dads are some of our most valued customers. It's not usual that we get complaints from customers about kids, and the ones we do get are really well behaved."

It's much the same at Braddon's Lonsdale St Roasters 23.

“We don't have any plans to do that,” manager Cassie Buttrey said. “At other places I've worked, we might have had a few complaints but it's not so much here as we're a lot more fast-paced.”

“People just stay here for half an hour to enjoy a coffee and panini, and less than 5 percent of customers bring their kids along.”

Even venues that align themselves with Melbourne's hip style aren't keen on the child ban.

Tongue and Groove boasts 'Melbourne's hospitality expertise' on their website, but the city restaurant and bar entertains young families too.

“On Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons, we'll have families coming in after their shopping is done, to have tapas and drinks.”

“But we've never, ever refused service to parents with kids and babies.”

Canberra's parents can rest assured that there are plenty of venues willing to serve them with children in tow.

But Ms Gollie says any parent should know when to exercise caution.

“Recently we went out with Hugo and some of his friends. They were noisy, as kids are when they get together, and other customers were getting annoyed,” she said.

“I had the most horrible time, so I don't recommend bringing a group of six.”

18 comments

  • “Your lifestyle changes when you become parents, you don't dine out as much,”

    Spot on! If you prefer to dine out a lot, don't have children!

    Alternatively, you *could* teach them how to behave in public... (gasp, shock, horror!)

    Commenter
    Robert
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    February 01, 2013, 1:03PM
    • +++++1!

      Commenter
      Lorraine
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      February 01, 2013, 1:47PM
    • Hey Robert - your the problem here. Hope you dont have any kids yourself - you dont deserve that priveledge

      Commenter
      Snaddle
      Date and time
      February 01, 2013, 5:09PM
    • @ Snaddle +1

      Commenter
      Mama Bear
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      February 02, 2013, 7:38AM
    • Thank you, Lorraine!

      It is reassuring to see that *most* of the comments on here are from sensible people who understand the concept of consideration for others, and how to teach their children manners and how to behave in public.

      As for the rest, they need to realise that the world does NOT revolve around them and their vile little brats. Getting a flatscreen TV with the baby bonus is NOT a reason to breed.

      Commenter
      Robert
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      February 02, 2013, 11:10AM
    • Robert: your argument automatically loses credibility when you resort to name calling such as "vile little brats". Such name calling belongs in the school yard, along with school children and, it appears, you.

      Ironic, isn't it.

      Commenter
      Miss D
      Date and time
      February 02, 2013, 7:37PM
  • Cannot afford to dine out as much is more the point.

    Look this is silly journalism. I have had so much fun eating out with my then 15 month old in London. Italian eateries we learned were the best, they grabbed him and took him to play with while we ate and I found him dancing on the bar top too many times with everyone having a great time.

    Commenter
    Outraged of Palmerston
    Date and time
    February 01, 2013, 2:52PM
    • It horrifies me that parents use technology to get their kids to be quiet. Your job, as their parent, is to teach them how to behave and interact with humans appropriately! Not to distract them so they don't bother you.

      I have a toddler and a 4 year old. If we go out to a cafe, my toddler either stays sitting down or is strapped back into the stroller. If my 4 year old won't sit down quietly then we leave. Simple as that. I am more than happy to miss out to teach my children. Oh, and the no-brainer is never go to a cafe if the kids are overtired or generally cranky. No one wants to hear them.

      Commenter
      Miss D
      Date and time
      February 01, 2013, 3:06PM
      • I'm going to be a parent soon, why am I bothering, I can just be the grown up with the smart phone instead.

        Commenter
        WotTha?????
        Date and time
        February 01, 2013, 4:06PM
        • 2 very different suggestions, if you must bring young children, whose idea of a good time is definitely not sitting quietly in a cafe or restaurant): Ricardo's cafe at Jamison (brilliant cafe with an adjacent playground); and Oriental Terrace restaurant at Erindale, where the staff really fuss over young children and make sure that they're happy.

          Commenter
          Karina
          Location
          Belconnen
          Date and time
          February 01, 2013, 4:41PM

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