CHILDREN are welcome at many of Orange and district’s fine-dining venues, in contrast to a growing number of metropolitan restaurants that have introduced a child-free policy.
Orange restaurateur Willa Arantz, who operates Racine Restaurant with her husband Shaun, says most parents who want children to accompany them to lunch or dinner are conscious of minimising disruptions to other diners.
“Most people who dine here have well-behaved children, particularly at lunchtime when people tend to bring their children, and we make the suggestion we can set up a separate children’s table outside,” she said.
Children are welcome she says, but they must be controlled.
“We have really only had one instance a few years ago of a child who was crawling under everyone’s feet at the restaurant and we had to speak to a parent,” Mrs Arantz said.
“It was quite interesting actually as the parents weren’t happy with our request.”
As a parent, Mrs Arantz says she is conscious of her son behaving when dining out.
“We went through a phase where he found it difficult to sit still so we just decided not to dine out for a while,” she said.
However, she empathises with restaurateurs who have to deal with crying babies or children disturbing other diners.
“A crying newborn for instance does have everyone on the edge of their seat,” she said.
Nick Bacon, one of the owners of the Union Bank, said children lunching or dining with their parents was an everyday occurrence.
“Just today we had children in for lunch and they were well behaved,” he said.
“We like to have drawing books ready for them when they arrive. It does help, but we are also fortunate we have an outdoor area as well.”
One Orange restaurant owner, who preferred not to be named, said restaurateurs are sometimes caught in a difficult situation when children dine in.
“If you respond to a complaint from a customer that a child is making too much noise, and you speak to the parents, whichever way it goes there’s the risk either one will be unhappy and won’t come back,” she said.