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Nobody Puts the Feldmans in a Corner

Last night, we decided to take our kids out to dinner with us on our usual "date night." Our son had just been diagnosed the day before with strep so rather than risk infecting his grandma, we took the pair out with us to somewhere new. One of my mom friends recommended this Westchester restaurant on her website so I figured, even if we had to drive 40 minutes to get there, it still would be worth the trip.
When we arrived, we were told there would be a 35 minute wait, even though I had called earlier and they said we wouldn't have a problem getting in. And so, while the kids whined about the fact that they were "starving," we took a seat near the bar and ordered a pizza while we waited to be seated.
After about 45 minutes had passed, the hostess finally came over to get us and pointed to a table that was a few feet away from where we were sitting. At first, we figured if the kids made noise, that spot would be perfect, but then reality set in. Every time someone opened the door, we'd instantly feel a 20 degree drop in the room temperature. Then, it took about 10 minutes for the waiter to come over and take our order and when I asked for a chardonnay, it took him another 30 minutes to come back and inform me that they had run out of the wine he had recommended. Annoyed, I ordered a diet coke - which didn't arrive for another 20 minutes.
But the most aggravating part of the evening was the bar scene. If you plan to take your kids to a restaurant and they seat you next to a bar and there is a long wait for tables, expect to start feeling incredibly claustrophobic when the crowd starts spilling over to your table. As dozens of people entered the bar, I watched as two women inched closer to where we were sitting. At one point, I think my son got slugged in the head with a handbag and we would have offered them an appetizer if someone had finally brought some food over to us. And as the bursts of cold air, lack of a beverage and overcrowding situation worsened, I went ballistic and was ready to bolt.
My husband then complained to the hostess for sticking us in the worst corner of the restaurant and when he told her we'd like to take our check and leave, she called over the manager and he instantly found us a table inside. As fate would have it, the table was next to another door which opened continuously and caused a draft every time someone opened it, but at least it was away from the bar scene.
My whole beef about the evening was a simple one - why do restaurants discriminate against families? I mean, I wouldn't want to eat at a place where there were screaming kids around who were causing a scene, but my children have been trained to be well-behaved since we eat out all the time. I've had it with the poor service, putting us in a bad location and the obliviousness of other people who have no problem standing within two inches from our table while they're waiting for their own.
So what's our takeaway from this experience? Don't trust other people's restaurant recommendations? Don't bring your kids to a restaurant that's not kid friendly? Suck it up and deal with poor service? Or just eat at home? While we may not dine at that restaurant again, what we do know is that if we ever get faced with a situation like this again, we will make one major request: nobody puts the Feldmans in a corner.

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Posted in: Blog, Undercover Mom on 02/17/2008

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