The Curse of the Single High Chair
This week’s changing table rally call from Ashton Kutcher got us thinking—what other amenities could restaurants offer to make the lives of families dining out with kids easier? There are a number of items that we’re always on the lookout for at kid-friendly restaurants (changing tables are one of them). We always love spots that offer plastic cups with straws, crayons and paper are a nice touch, and kid’s menus are a lovely (albeit unnecessary) option. Then there’s the basics—like high chairs.
We still love to dine out at some of old pre-kid haunts, and even the less kid-friendly spots can work—we simply plan accordingly (and dine at a much earlier hour!). When we are about to venture out to somewhere new and untapped by KidNosh, a quick phone call to the restaurant to ask if they have high chairs usually provides the go/no-go decision. As a general rule of thumb—if there are high chairs (and especially if there’s a kid’s menu), the staff is ready and willing to welcome younger diners. But what burns our buttons are restaurants that only have one high chair, but the staff doesn’t bother to share that information when you call to inquire about these very high chair(s)—or if they do mention it, they refuse to reserve the lone high chair for the 20 minutes it’ll take to make our way there, and then end up giving it away to other diners before we arrive.
Do these staff members have any idea what we have to go through to get out the door??? And how long it took to get in the car (or walk—especially during this crazy winter!), wrestle with car seats, haul out strollers, try to reason with a toddler refusing to wear a jacket (or shoes, or a shirt, or ANYTHING…), or try to find parking?? Do they understand the desperation when we’re turned away at the door, when all these tired, hungry parents want is a big ol’ cocktail and a tasty meal cooked by someone else?? Do the restaurant owners not realize that these high chairs STACK and having two takes up no more room than having just one?? Sigh…
But no. You only have one high chair…and you just gave it to someone else.
And before this turns into a total rant, we want to give props to one of our favorite spots that does an amazing job of managing their “light on high chairs” situation (and where you can order a fried Mars bar): The Haven in JP, which only has two high chairs. But–they’re super proactive about managing their high chair situation. They even called us one time after we made an OpenTable reservation requesting a high chair, letting us know that the high chairs were already spoken for. Were we bummed we weren’t going to be able to dig into Scottish fare that evening? Yes. But instead we ventured around the corner to Canary Square and had a fabulous meal—with a high chair.
Have you ever been burned by the curse of the single high chair?