Children under 6 barred from Monroeville restaurant

Leave your toddlers at home the next time you head to McDain's Restaurant and Golf Center in Monroeville.

"Beginning July 16, 2011 McDain's Restaurant will no longer admit children under 6 years of age," wrote the restaurant in an email to patrons. "We feel that McDain's is not a place for young children. Their volume can't be controlled and many, many times they have disturbed other customers."

McDain's atmosphere is intentionally adult, said owner Mike Vuick. The restaurant, which includes a bar, is connected to a driving range and has never offered a children's menu.

"This is not a kid-oriented place," Mr. Vuick said. "There are many child-friendly restaurants that are a lot cheaper to go to."

Although few customers were at the restaurant mid-Monday afternoon, local blogs were buzzing about the policy, and opinions were divided.

"Part of me thinks this is probably a good idea," said Rob "tha Professor" J. on the Pittsburgh page of Yelp, a business ratings website. "I think we live in the age of bad parenting, and a lot of parents simply cannot keep their kids under control."

Another poster, "Amy C," countered, "The people with the kids running and screaming at restaurants are the same ones who would answer a loudly ringing cell phone at the table and proceed to chat. It should be a rude-people rule not a kids-under-6 rule."

While it's unclear how the ban on babies and young children will affect Mr. Vuick's business, the measure does not violate anti-discrimination legislation, said Vic Walczak, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.

Despite noise complaints, bans on young children are rather uncommon, even in Pittsburgh's poshest restaurants.

"We do everything from newborns to 99-year-olds," said Janet Mrzlack, a manager at the Grand Concourse in Station Square. "Everybody's welcome here."

Unruly children have never been an issue at Eleven in the Strip District, manager Ron Ausnehmer said. He questioned the business sense of the decision to ban youngsters.

"If anything, I think it's going to drive away a little bit of their business," he said.

Mr. Vuick said he expected that the policy change wouldn't impact his bottom line.

Joshua Falk: .


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