A restaurant in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, called Nettie’s House of Spaghetti, made the controversial decision to ban children under the age of 10 from dining at the restaurant. The Italian eatery announced the new policy on social media, prompting a wave of debate over no-children policies at restaurants and other businesses.

Parents say no

Telling parents they can’t bring their kids somewhere always comes with its own set of risks. Browse any Reddit post about people bringing kids to a wedding where the bride and groom asked their guests to not bring their children. People are very protective of their kids and feel like they should take them where they want.

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Because of this, Nettie’s announcement is none too popular with parents who frequent the popular restaurant. However, Nettie’s made it clear they’re not doing this to hurt anyone, but to maintain their standards for their own sake and the sake of their guests.

On Facebook, they wrote, “We love kids. We really, truly, do. But lately, it’s been extremely challenging to accommodate children at Nettie’s. Between noise levels, lack of space for high chairs, cleaning up crazy messes, and the liability of kids running around the restaurant, we have decided that it’s time to take control of the situation.”

They added, “This wasn’t a decision that was made lightly, but some recent events have pushed us to implement this new policy. As of March 8, the day we return from our winter break, we will no longer allow children under 10 to dine in the restaurant.”

Understanding that the decision would definitely upset some of their patrons, they wrote, “We know that this is going to make some of you very upset, especially those of you with very well-behaved kids, but we believe this is the right decision for our business moving forward.”

Still, Nettie’s has the right

At the end of the day, businesses are allowed to operate as they see fit. Still, people can respond however they’d like. There are many who understand why Nettie’s is making this difficult decision. However, there are some who can’t understand why a restaurant wouldn’t allow paying customers to bring their children.

Yet most people are on Nettie’s side. On Instagram, one commenter and Nettie’s frequenter wrote, “We’ve never even considered taking our toddler to Nettie’s – we want to enjoy our [f’ing] dinner, need a breather, and assume everyone else there feels the same.”

They added, “Not the correct environment for a kid anyway. If you can afford a pricy spaghetti dinner you can also afford a babysitter.”

Many commenters on the restaurant’s Facebook and Instagram pages agreed. “Cruise ships have no children allowed restaurants & areas, resorts do as well,” wrote another commenter. “Why are people losing their minds about this as if an establishment has never done this before??”

However, amidst all the debate, one Instagram commenter asked the important question: “I have to know—what was the event that pushed you over the edge?” Some theorized it was a particularly unruly child, while others say it was most likely a series of events that led to the policy change.

Whatever it was, it seems like Nettie’s had a tough decision to make.

Another commenter mentioned how they used to work at a Michelin-star restaurant with a strict no-kids policy. They explained how the owner of the restaurant made an exception once for Christmas. But the child knocked over the Christmas tree and the restaurant hasn’t welcomed children again ever since.

But that doesn’t even compare to a longtime Nettie’s patron talking about something that happened years ago. “My folks and I were enjoying some pizza in those old chonky booths. I turned to my left and saw a kid by the pool table. This little fucker was taking a shit right in the middle of the dining room.”

Some are complaining about the no-children policy

While most people supported Nettie’s decision, there were still a few detractors. “That is really sad to hear .. I was looking forward to trying out your place but with a well behaved 9 year old I’m not welcome .. sad ..,” wrote one commenter on Facebook.

One parent on Instagram expressed her disappointment, writing, “Imagine if more establishments started doing the same. That’s just awful. Children are part of the family unit. They are our future. I would never patronize a restaurant that wouldn’t allow children. I wish you luck but don’t be surprised if it affects your bottom line.”

Another particularly upset parent wrote, “Oh and you sell chicken wings and subs, this is not a 5 star restaurant what a joke. You will lose more business just by ppl protesting the fact you banned children under 10.”

She adds, “You do realize that leaves you available for anyone to bring their loud [obnoxious] child over the age of 11.” However, it seems that commenters like her are just a vocal minority. Parents and non-parents alike are, mostly, celebrating Nettie’s firm stance on the no-kids policy.

A nearby restaurant gets creative…

However, a nearby restaurant used their post as an opportunity for some free publicity and it’s pretty hilarious. Nearby Twin Lights Brewing commented, “Every business is different and should have the right to run their business and provide the experience that they feel best fits their needs and customers.”

Still, there’s a catch. “That being said, if you want a night out with your kids, we are located right around the corner and are 100% family and dog friendly, although you will have to bring your own food!”