Reader: Skip Frasca and stick to Chuck E Cheese when you're taking kids to dinner

Frascacrew.jpg
The friendly crew at Frasca Food and Wine.
Westword staff writer Joel Warner recently had a big night out with his wife and three-year-old son -- not at Chipotle, their regular family haunt, but at Frasca Food and Wine, which just won Best Front of the House in the Best of Denver 2011 (as it has several years running).

Joel's choice of Frasca for dinner with a toddler inspired several comments, including this from bdiner:

Way to be considerate of other diners trying to enjoy an adult night out. I hope a creepy pervert shows up at your Chuck E Cheese birthday party.

Uncledave8 was a little less pervy, but just as critical:

Well, good for Frasca I guess but honestly if you can afford Frasca you can afford a babysitter. No one wants to get to know your three year old at these prices. Seat a party with toddlers in tow next to me at a price point like Frasca - I'm out of there.

But others, including Dawn, appreciated Joel's assessment of his Frasca experience:

That's awesome! We just took our almost 3-year-old to lunch at Colterra in Niwot. They were also very accommodating. Even took her to see where the bread came from, when she asked for more bread. I love it when restaurants are great with kids 0- and most Boulder-area restaurants really seem to do a good job.

And it sounds like you were being quite considerate of other diners, so good for you!

And before db points it out again, yes, Laura Shunk once worked at Frasca -- which she definitely acknowledges in her recent "Top five things I learned working in Frasca's front of the house," a piece that prompted this from db:

In my humble opinion, a professional restaurant reviewer should be impartial. Not constantly promoting and sucking up to places they used to work.

Should Westword ignore Frasca because Laura Shunk once worked there? Her resume certainly didn't affect Joel Warner's experience, and Frasca was collecting awards from us (not to mention national publications) long before Shunk added front-of-the-house duties there to her resume. For that matter, former Westword critics John Kessler and Kyle Wagner were both working at local restaurants when we hired them to become our reviewers.

Still, we know that the appearance of a conflict alone can raise concerns...so feel free to discuss whether or not we should cover Frasca in the comments below. Just keep the Chuck E Cheese perverts out of this, please.

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Location Info

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Frasca Food and Wine

1738 Pearl St., Boulder, CO

Category: Restaurant

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13 comments
db
db

My point was that Laura Shunk should not be covering Frasca. Other Westword writers certainly can. Also, I found her review of Basta innappropriate as well. If you cant be incognito, your not going to get an accurate account of what a meal will be like for the average person off the street. I would like to know where Kyle Garret works bc he is a moron and probably awful at his job. I'd certainly avoid his restaurant if possible

calhounp
calhounp

Laura certainly won't review Frasca, or anywhere she's worked -- but I don't have a problem with her writing about it, or Chipotle, when her experience might give particular insight. (She's gone on record that she worked at both.) As for Basta, the review made it clear that she knew the chef, and was probably recognized at that final meal. Very occasionally, this is unavoidable -- Sheehan ran into it, too, with Sean Yontz and Jesse Morreale -- and in both cases I made the judgment call that the restaurants were still worth reviewing, as long as the reviewer revealed the conflicts.

now, feel free to disagree with that call:

Monopod
Monopod

Seems like the question is not whether toddlers should be in restaurants, but whether your toddler is appropriate for this restaurant. If you have a well-behaved 3 year old who doesn't throw his food and knows how to use his indoor voice, then he's probably better behaved than some of the inebriated businessmen you find at Frasca every night. If your 3 year old needs to stand in his seat, run around, and see which elements of his food stick to the wall, then perhaps a babysitter (or dinner somewhere less formal) is the right call. This requires a judgment call as to what's appropriate given the specific circumstances - or, as some of us call it, "parenting."

Mom
Mom

Agreed!

The problem is people who allow their children to run wild. I have small children. I would not take them to an upscale place unless i was sure they would behave. I do think it is unfair to other patrons. However, i work hard to make sure my children know how to behave properly. As a child, I was never allowed scream, throw things, run around, etc. All of which you see all the time now. I was the type of child that could easily be taken to any type of restaurant. I work to make my children the same, or they stay home. On the other hand, my brother-in-law is near 30 and I still wouldn't take him anywhere above McDs.

Daddy-o
Daddy-o

I take my kid everywhere. The kid's seat and plate are paid for, same as you. And the conversation is likely better.

When I bring my 3-year-old to an expensive restaurant, I really, really hope you say something to me about how "inappropriate" you think it is so that I can take advantage of the teachable moment to show my kid that; you may be able to buy an expensive dinner, but you can't buy brains, class, or enlightenment and that the need to express your opinion over the events occurring at someone else's table is likely the result of your own parents' failure to include you in all aspects of an integrated society, so embittering you to the point where you project your own likely behavioral problems on other people's children.

And I'll be happy to watch you stick your thumb in your mouth and walk out the door.

GFTW
GFTW

Taking a three-year-old to expensive restaurants is a total waste of money. Stick to the Gerber -- they won't know the difference. And if three-year-olds start making a fuss in a restaurant I'm paying lots of money in, I expect them to be removed pronto.

Daddy-o
Daddy-o

"start making a fuss"...you mean like snapping fingers at the waiter, or talking on the phone at the table, or laughing loudly, or calling out to friends across the restaurant, or complaining loudly about other patrons?

Because if you start doing that in a restaurant I'm paying lots of money in, I expect you to be removed immediately.

Grand Apple
Grand Apple

Nice, Daddy-o. Given GFTW's muted reaction, it's pretty apparent that he/she acts in the above manner. Committing yourself to the idea that all children are horrible diners is just as reasonable and well-thought out as believing that all adults are always on their best behavior too. It's a case-by-case basis. Some families, even ones with young children, can demonstrate class and consideration in public. Others can't. The same holds true with adults.

Reading this dialogue reminds me of an exercise an ethics professor at Oxford once posed to my class. Highlight all the subject words in the posts: three-year-old, kids, children, etc. Replace them with "African-American", "Jew", "homosexual" or even "heavyset person". Do you find one attitude or another projected at those characteristics offensive, discriminatory, hateful and/or bigoted? Do you honestly believe those attitudes are any less so when you change the subject back to "children"?

GFTW
GFTW

Those behaviors are much less annoying then screaming three-year-olds.

Jacquie
Jacquie

Oh wow! I bet you're also the type of person who gets pissed immediately on a airplane when you see families with small children boarding. What do you say then, "I paid alot of money for my seat, I want those kids removed from the plane right now"? How else are kids going to learn appropriate behavior if their parents don't take them out & teach them?

Jacquie
Jacquie

Hmmm...do you know me or my kids? No you don't, so don't you dare presume I'm not a responsible parent. I've been taking my kids out to eat (& traveling) in various restaurants both high-end & low end since they were infants. I've never once had to physically remove them due to behavior. I'm not saying they've never acted up, but they clearly knew when not to.

GFTW
GFTW

By responsible parents (which must not include you) telling their kids how to behave in advance, not letting them annoy everybody else in public and try to use it as a "teachable moment."

GFTW
GFTW

Why does that photo have "Matthew Perez" on it?

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