From San Francisco, a good idea:
IT’S dinnertime, and 6-year-old Joaquin Hurtado is staying in his seat. He hasn’t stood up, run around the table or wrestled with his little brother. Good thing. It wouldn’t take much unruly behavior to shatter the dishware or the mood in this upscale restaurant.
“This is a place where you come to eat,” the boy says softly, explaining nice manners. “It’s not a place to play.”
The place is Chenery Park, a restaurant with low lights, cloth napkins, $24 grilled salmon and “family night” every Tuesday. Children are welcome, with a catch: They are expected to behave — and to watch their manners, or learn them. Think upscale dining with training wheels.
While the Little Pricks’ table manners are generally pretty good – and frankly, they’re better at “inside voices” than their parents – this seems like an idea that could take off in Sydney should an enterprising restaurateur be looking to increase turnover mid-week. Though it would require commitment on the part of both owner and guest, such an event could be its own reward:
Mr. Kowal himself can sometimes come across as hurried and even brusque. He has been known to scold parents, too. He once reprimanded a woman for talking on her phone and ignoring her son, who was yelling loudly. The woman was offended and told Mr. Kowal she wouldn’t be going back. He responded that that was her choice, and the people at nearby tables applauded.
Another night, two families were sitting at adjoining tables. At one of them, a 5-year-old starting yelling and jumping up and down.
“The second or third time it happened, one of the kids at the other table goes over to the one jumping up and down and said, ‘You can’t do that,’” Mr. Kowal recalled. “That was the best.”
How about it, Sydney? Any restaurants up to the challenge of helping the next generation of customers learn how to use a fish knife and gracefully send back a corked bottle?