Houston restaurant La Fisheria has made national news after an announcement on Monday that the owner, Aquiles Chavez, has decided to ban kids under 9 years old after 7 p.m. out of respect for other patrons. The announcement was made on La Fisheria's Facebook page.
La Fisheria isn't open on Mondays, so Tuesday was the first day that the policy was put into action.
We've called Chef Chavez at La Fisheria to inquire about the response to the new regulation at dinner Tuesday evening, but we have not been able to reach him.
Chef Chavez tells the Chronicle that the decision came after customers complained about children running around the restaurant while adults are trying to have a romantic or low-key evening away from children--their own or otherwise. Indeed, based on the responses to La Fisheria's Facebook post, it seems even most parents agree with the decision.
Some seemed less thrilled with the new policy and took issue with the fact that the restaurant calls itself a "family friendly" establishment. Chavez notes that La Fisheria has a kids menu, but that's not good enough for many who think "family friendly" means kids should be allowed all the time.
The angry parents and individuals really are the exception, though. When KHOU took their cameras out to interview people unhappy with the new decision, they primarily found people applauding Chavez's choice.
Some people who agree with the policy do note that 7 p.m. might be a little early to stop letting in kids, instead proposing a 9 p.m. cut-off. Another woman on La Fisheria's Facebook wondered how the restaurant will be able to differentiate between a tall 6-year-old and a small 9-year-old.
The consensus seems to be echoed by Terry Alexander, who replied to my question about the policy on Twitter.
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Two restaurants in Houston have previously attempted to ban an age demographic with little success. Vida Tex Mex and Vegas Grill both closed shortly after implementing 16 and over" policies at the restaurants. Neither restaurant was as well known or as upscale as La Fisheria.
Another question raised by this policy is whether it's acceptable for a restaurant owner or manager to ask a family to leave if a child is being disruptive. Many on La Fisheria's Facebook page suggested that might be an option, but Chavez told the Chronicle, "Customers don't like screaming kids, and you can't tell customers' kids to be quiet."
What do you think? Do you support La Fisheria's decision? And is it ever OK for a restaurant manager to ask a family with a disruptive child to leave?