“We just gave away our last table … “
….I stared at him blankly. “Excuse me?” My husband and I exchanged glances at each other and then around at the half empty restaurant. I squeezed my children’s hands and waited for the host to explain.
“Yes, I just gave away our last table, I’m afraid. You can sit outside.”
No need. I ushered my family right back out of the doors of that local Mid-City restaurant for the very final time. It was a shame too; we have enjoyed many a lovely dinner there previously, but after tonight, rest assured that we will not return.
My husband and I knew exactly what he was saying. I had seen it right when we opened the door to the cozy restaurant: the male host visibly grimaced at my two children in tow. As if their very presence would ruin the evening for the dining patrons. I understood completely. It was written all over his face. I was not about to start a confrontation; there are plenty of other delightful restaurants in Mid-City that are gracious and accepting of families.
And I get it!
Who has not tested the waters with their potential time bomb of children only to have it all explode in your face, leaving you apologizing profusely to the diners and staff around you as you scurry to get out of there as fast as possible?
I am sure we can all recount an incident, or five, that still leaves you a little embarrassed. However, it was the immediate judge, jury and sentencing that left my husband and I saying “That’s a shame, we really liked that restaurant.” Our children were being little angel children. I do not say this lightly; we had attended a lovely, semi-fancy hotel Christmas lighting ceremony just shortly before. It was one of those events where you play the balancing act: arrive early enough for a good spot, but not so early that the kids don’t lose their marbles all over the marble floor of said lovely hotel before the ceremony. And we had just barely made it. Our kids lost their patience and good graces immediately after in the car, leaving us bailing on dinner plans all together and opting for a Come to Jesus talk at home about behavior, consequences, and responsibility. They understood their role in the evening, they had apologized, and we were giving them another chance at a family dinner at out at a nice restaurant.
So by the time we walked in to said restaurant, our children were very well behaved, ready to earn their second chance.
And they, and consequently we, were not given that chance to show them that they had earned it. My husband and I discussed it at the now second restaurant that welcomed us in. It was the choice in wording. When you hear “We gave away our last table,” do you not expect to hear how long the wait will be? That was not even offered. We saw several empty tables, on a Tuesday evening at 6:45. No explanation.
We are all for a kid-less dinner out. We completely understand how nice that is and choose our date night out dinners wisely. I think some reference to being kid- free (we have eaten there as a family before) or even kid-friendly up to a certain hour would have been a much more professional way of saying that we do not want to serve families.