"Kids Eat Free" may be the policy at some restaurants. But at La Fisheria in Houston, the policy is: "Kids Eat Not." As of now, child diners under 8 years old are not welcome after 7 p.m.
The restaurant adopted its policy this week.
Manager David Cervantes says that while reaction has been mixed, most patrons have applauded the new policy. "We actually had a couple who said they came in for this very reason," he tells ABC News. He points to comments posted on the La Fisheria's Facebook page, which indeed appear to be running mostly anti-kid.
"I totally agree with the new policy," writes one diner. "There is nothing that can ruin a meal [like] kids running around and bumping into your table. If parents would teach their children how to behave in a restaurant, I am sure the owners would not have had to set the new rules."
"I will definitely be going to your restaurant now for a peaceful dinner," writes a prospective customer.
Aquiles Chavez, the restaurant's chef and a reality TV star in Mexico, tells the Houston Chronicle that in Mexico children are simply not part of the evening dining scene. "You don't see kids in restaurants at night." That's in part because people eat later in Mexico.
Chavez says his decision to bar kids after 7 p.m. was not reached easily. "It was hard," he tells the paper. "Two of my kids are under this age, and my partner has young kids." Still, he said, many of La Fisheria's customers had complained about unruly youngsters.
One patron, he says, complained that she had hired a babysitter expressly so she could enjoy a romantic dinner, only to find herself beset by children.
Cervantes tells ABC, "We don't ban kids. We like kids." It's just that after 7 p.m., he says, the restaurant's bar opens, and having youngsters underfoot becomes, in his and many of his customers' opinion, less appropriate.