No-Kid Policy Pays Off for 'Elegant' Italian Eatery

A “traditional, classy, intimate” restaurant in Mooresville, North Carolina banned children under 5 — and it paid off big-time.

Photo by: Photographer: Andreas Prott ©Copyright: Andreas Prott

Photographer: Andreas Prott, Copyright: Andreas Prott

Remember that Italian restaurant that recently decided to reward the parents of well-behaved children with a discount? An Italian restaurant in North Carolina is taking the opposite approach — skipping the carrot and grabbing the stick.

Caruso’s, an Italian fine dining establishment in Mooresville, North Carolina — “Traditional, classy, intimate,” its website declares, in a fancy script font — has decided to ban children under 5. (“No Children’s Menu Available,” the site underscores.)

The restaurant’s manager, Yoshi Nunez, told the Washington Post the motivation for the drastic move had been building for some time, as families increasingly failed to prevent their children from running around the premises and disturbing other diners. But the final straw, he said, was one set of parents who declined to act when the staff asked them to turn down the volume on their young daughter’s iPad.

The restaurant’s owner, Pasquale Caruso, said he felt the need to do something because he was “starting to lose money and customers” due to unruly young kids. It was starting to affect the “elegant,” date-night ambiance of the place, he told the Mooresville Tribune.

“I had several customers complain, get up and leave because children were bothering them, and the parents were doing nothing,” he told the local paper. “It started to feel like it wasn’t Caruso’s anymore, that it was a local pizzeria instead.”

Initially the move proved controversial, but recent comments on the restaurant’s Facebook page seem to overwhelmingly applaud Caruso’s decision. “Thank you for taking a stand” is a recurring refrain.

And it has reportedly been good for the restaurant’s bottom line as well. Nunez told the Washington Post that reservations have shot up since the ban went into effect late last year, and the number of diners on an average day has climbed from around 50 to about 80.

People shelling out $24 for Caruso’s Salmone Bella Vista apparently prefer to do it without a bella vista (or brutta earful) of someone’s rambunctious bambino.

Photo: iStock
Keep Reading

Next Up

Nutrition News: Scary Dairy Discovery, Pesco-Vegetarianism Pays Off and a Colorful Key to Healthy Food Choices

The FDA discovers unauthorized antibiotics in milk; vegetarianism cuts colorectal cancer, study finds; and traffic-light color-coding may illuminate healthy-eating options.

Food for Good: Roberto Santibañez’s Non-GMO Corn Policy

Chef Roberto Santibanez is eliminating GMOs in his restaurant by launching his Heirloom Corn Initiative which sources cobs from his home country of Mexico.

Giada Kicks Off the New York City Wine & Food Festival with Rooftop Italian Feast

Get the first look inside an Italian-focused bash that Giada hosted during the 2015 New York City Wine & Food Festival.

Are You Willing to Pay More for Healthy Food?

A recent study finds that Americans aren’t willing to put their money where their mouth is for healthier restaurant options. Are some foods worth the extra cash?

Would You Pay $18 for a Cup of Coffee?

A new coffee spot in Brooklyn (where else?) is banking that some people will shell out a lot of beans for its premium brew.

What's Your Dream Mall Eatery? — Food Court Wars

FN Dish wants to know what's your dream food court eatery that you would create if you were competing on Food Court Wars.