When a pizza shop added a new sign to their door, some parents said it was discrimination and that the place should be shut down. Others disagreed and praised the restaurant’s bold move. Take a look and decide for yourself who is right.
Hampton Station was opened by Troy Taylor in Tampa Bay in 2015 with the hopes it would be a family and hipster-friendly eatery with its patio courtyard and a variety of action figures positioned on the tables. But, as businesses often do, it began to take a different direction thanks to “a lot of people who couldn’t keep their kids under control,” Taylor told the Tampa Bay Times.
That led Taylor to make a decision that was soon reflected on the door of his shop in the form of a sign. Written in all capital letters, it read, “No Children.” Those two words quickly drew a lot of attention and the ire of many in the community, including the Tampa Bay Mom’s Group, whose Facebook page exploded with comments about the situation, Fox News reported.
“A kid was in danger and could have seriously been hurt,” Taylor said, explaining that he was forced to take action and referencing the particular incident that was the final straw. “It’s a liability and safety issue. After the incident, I thought, this can’t happen again.”
The restaurant, which has an unprotected patio with access to the road, is located on a busy street in the Seminole Heights neighborhood. What’s more, this isn’t your average pizza shop. It’s basically a bar, serving beer and a side of pizza. The mixture of alcohol and kids can have dangerous results, which Taylor realizes and cited as he defended his decision, but that didn’t stop the “outrage” many felt.
“How does this not fall into some type of discrimination?” a confused social media user asked as another pointed out, “This is a place that neighborhood families rallied around. I mean, this place literally uses action figures as their order markers.”
Others supported Taylor’s decision since it’s the business’s prerogative whether they allow children or not, adding there are plenty of places for families to go instead. “Get over it. Go somewhere else it’s not that big of a deal lol,” one blunt Facebook user wrote while another chimed in to say, “Fine by me! I don’t have to take my kids everywhere with me and there’s also plenty of other pizza places I can take them with me if I chose to.”
“I’m happy to see restaurants are taking a stand and saying, ‘We don’t want kids in here being noisy or messy, we’re going to create an environment for adults only,'” Courtney Mattina, a mother of two, said. “I was a waitress for six years, and kids running around a restaurant is one of the most dangerous things in the world.” But, this is about much more than messes and noise for Taylor.
“It’s one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. It’s been gut-wrenching. I’m not a big social media person, but I’ve stayed away from Facebook,” Taylor said. He acknowledged that the move might cause him to lose some longtime customers, but he couldn’t live with a child getting hurt at his restaurant. “We had a lot of great kids come into Hampton, and we are going to miss them, but this had to be done for everyone’s well being,” he added.
Of course, this isn’t the first establishment to encounter this same problem, nor is it the first to ban children from their place of business. Sadly, it’s also not the first to catch flack for going child-free either. Similar to Hampton Station, a restaurant in the same neighborhood received backlash when they also banned children, citing the dangers witnessed when parents allowed children to frolic on their patio unsupervised.
Although it is nice to have the freedom to go where you want to go even if you have kids, I have trouble understanding the outrage over banning kids from what looks like a bar environment. Even if you’re not drinking, other patrons are. If this restaurant sits on a busy street with easy access to the road and people are getting drunk, that shouldn’t be the type of environment any parent fights to have their child in.
What’s more, the owner is openly telling parents, “This place isn’t safe for your kids.” Why the outrage? They ought to be thanking him for his honesty. So many others would risk a child possibly getting hurt just to take your money and make a sale. If it’s the pizza you love so much and can’t live without, take out is an option. Perhaps these outraged parents don’t like that idea because then they are forced to clean up after their own little ones rather than letting it behind for the staff.
In cases such as this, where a patron finds themselves unwanted for one reason or another, the simple solution is to find a place to go that wants you there. You and your kids will have a better time at an establishment that embraces the presence of little ones. Businesses should be allowed to establish the rules just like I do in my own home. If they say no children, no pets, or even no women, it’s not my place to argue. I’d be better off spending my money somewhere that welcomes me. Then, let nature take its course. If the community as a whole truly doesn’t like it, the business will go under without a social media fit from me or a group of angry moms.