No Children Allowed: Popular Tampa Pizza Restaurant Bans Kids, Some Parents Aren’t Amused

“No Children Allowed: Please Order At The Bar.” That’s the message engraved in the door at a popular Tampa Bay restaurant, installed last week. And some parents are not amused.

As the Tampa Bay Times reports, the owner of Hampton Station, a popular craft beer and pizza restaurant in the city’s up-and-coming Seminole Heights neighborhood, has had enough of kids and has banned them from the property.

Troy Taylor says he has good reason for banning kids. Like a lot of urban neighborhoods undergoing gentrification, some seedier elements remain in and around Seminole Heights, particularly in run-down motels just a few blocks away from the restaurant’s patio. His patio also abuts a busy street, Nebraska Avenue.

He says he’d be fine allowing kids if the parents would properly supervise them. But too many parents weren’t properly minding their kids, he says, putting the kids — and his business — at risk.

One recent incident was the final straw.

“A kid was in danger and could have seriously been hurt. It’s a liability and safety issue. After the incident, I thought, this can’t happen again.”

He decided to ban kids from the restaurant.

“It’s one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. It’s been gut-wrenching.”

As with all things involving kids, once the news of the ban reached social media, things got rancorous. There was the “for” side, who thought that the restaurateur was well within his rights, or were even glad to have a place to go without kids. Then there was the “against” side, who were not going to tolerate such an insidious attack on kids.

Here are some of the milder comments from the haters.

“My question is how does this not fall into some type of discrimination?”

Actually, no. Federal law allows businesses to ban children, says the Times.

“That’s horrible just because they had a few bad eggs to ban all kids.

“This is a place that neighborhood families rallied around. I mean, this place literally uses action figures as their order markers.”

And here are some comments in support of the restaurant.

“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.’ I was a waitress for six years and kids running around a restaurant is one of the most dangerous things in the world.”

Hampton Station is not the first restaurant to face heated controversy for banning children. In fact, just about every time a restaurant makes such a decision these days, two things happen. First, the decision generates a rancorous debate on social media (or a review site such as Yelp), and second, the incident makes national (or even international) news.

Consider, for example, the case of Australian restaurateur Liam Flynn. As Eater reported in 2015, he decided to ban kids under seven from his restaurant, Flynn’s Restaurant, generating a huge public outcry in the land down under, and even internationally. Flynn stuck to his guns (so to speak), and the restaurant became busier than ever.

Do you think it’s reasonable for a restaurant owner to ban children?

[Featured Image by Happy cake Happy cafe/Shutterstock]