(Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Diageo)
Photo: Vivien Killilea
Photo: Vivien Killilea

Florida pizza restaurant says no kids allowed; critics respond

A pizza restaurant in Tampa Bay, Florida, is drawing criticism from parents after the restaurant posted a “no children” note on the establishment’s front door. 

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The bold, all caps note went up last week at Hampton Station, a neighborhood pizza joint in Seminole Heights, Florida. 

Troy Taylor, who opened Hampton Station in 2015, said the restaurant started out as a family-friendly eatery.

But Taylor told the Tampa Bay Times that over time, there were “a lot of people who couldn’t keep their kids under control.” And a recent incident -- which he would not detail -- further provoked the child ban.

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

In making the decision, Taylor also considered the dangers of the busy street the restaurant is located near and any possible situations that could arise from intoxicated adults since the restaurant serves alcohol. 

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

But many parents, including mothers involved in a Facebook group called “Tampa Bay Moms Group,” don’t agree with Taylor’s decision. 

Some have asked if the ban classifies as discrimination. 

Some say the ban is just fine: “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.”

Others say the ban should be more specific: “A sign that says ‘no children’ is too ambiguous. Does that mean a man and his 12-year-old son can’t come watch MNF and eat pizza? Or does it mean no toddler-age children?”

And still others say the restaurant reserves the right to make the decision. According to federal law, restaurants do have the right to choose whether to allow children.

“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 New Port Richey mother of two told the Times. “I was a waitress for six years and kids running around a restaurant is one of the most dangerous things in the world.”

Taylor said he just “couldn’t live with the fact that a child might get 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 wrote on Facebook.

Read more at the Tampa Bay Times.

>> Related: Parents dining with kids limited to one alcoholic beverage at N.Y. restaurant

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