Sunday, January 21, 2007

Friday night out on the town: Raymond's Bakery

I heard that Raymond's Bakery in Cazadero on a Friday night is quite the happenin' thang for families with young children: They serve various types of pizza & various beverages, including beer & wine; & they have a small play area & box of toys for the kids.

So we decided to go there & also invite our friends (whose daughter plays with our daughter) for a fun night on the town. Alas, the evening turned out to be an utter disaster, through no fault of Raymond's or anyone in particular.

There was a huge party of folks (without children) whose long table was in the middle of the room & took up almost all of the space. Meanwhile, several of us families with kids had to squeeze ourselves into various smaller tables around the room, & felt self-conscious & stressed-out about controlling our kids. But it was hard because some of the parents had to sit at tables that weren't near the toy box, so the kids were all running back & forth. I think it would have been more pleasant for everyone if the families with kids could be seated near the toy box & the larger party away from it (& the kids).

I even found myself feeling somewhat angry at the large group even though I know this isn't fair. But some of them were giving the kids dirty looks & I felt like it wasn't the children's or parents' faults. Like many parents, we try to avoid taking our daughter to places where it would be hard for her to behave appropriately due to boredom, restlessness, etc.

I mean, jeeze-louise, I mean, there are tons of good restaurants around here for child-free adults, but very few places with good food that are child-friendly with toys & other kids to play with so the grown-ups can have a real conversation or eat their food. In the context of a weekly happening that I thought was targeted to families, it was disappointing that things worked out this way.

Then, I thought about the large group's situation & felt kind of sorry for the child-free folks because they had probably planned for a nice evening with pizza & wine & had no idea of why all these seemingly unruly, obnoxious kids were running back & forth. Oh, and by the way, I use the term "child-free" because the term "childless" sounds rather brutal (especially when hubby & I were "child-free" & trying to become pregnant) & doesn't adequately reflect the fact that some people do choose not to have children.

but ANYway ... the waitress -- who gave me the impression that she was fairly new to this establishment -- did an awesome job. The place was crazy-crowded, & yet she served our drinks & pizzas a tad late, but with confident, courteous, & competent aplomb. The pizza was quite tasty, with a light & crispy crust, a generous sprinkling of cheese, & fresh toppings. Alas, the tomato sauce could have benefited from a lighter & more subtly-flavored touch, but that's just my opinion.

Overall, we had a good time once things settled down & I definitely want to check this scene out again. The food was good & reasonably-priced & we enjoyed the general atmosphere. It's probably even better in the summer when folks can sit outside.


TaurusGirl said...

So were you upset that childfree people had the nerve to invade child-friendly territory, or were you upset that the unruly, obnoxious children they would have to put up with were yours? Just because a restaurant welcomes children doesn't mean that those without should be kept away from the establishment. And as for all of the childfree restaurants available, please, post a list! I have yet to find anywhere that is expicitly and completely childfree.

Bravewolf said...

Just because a restaurant caters to children doesn't mean that childfree people (or parents who were enjoying a night without their children) should avoid it because someone with children might want to eat there.

If the roles were reversed, what would you say to people without children who complained about your large group? Suck it up? I wouldn't go there if I were you.

If the space issue was such a problem, you could have apprehended the situation before you sat down and gone to find a better venue.

And I second taurusgirl's request. Please, please give us a list of restaurants where ill-behaved children are never found. I have no problem with a kid who knows when to shut up and eat his caviar, but too many times my dining experience has been compromised by people who figured that R-E-S-T-A-U-R-A-N-T spells "playground".

Russian River Rattina said...

Lighten up, taurusgirl & bravewolf. Your apparent bitterness comes across as highly unattractive & I'm sure you're both a lot nicer in the real world than you seem in the blogosphere. Do you have some sort of major personal ongoing problem with people you know who have kids?

P.S. -- I'll be happy to give you a list of restaurants where ill-behaved children are never found, if you can give me a list of places where ill-behaved ADULTS are never found.

satire said...

Not a fan of kids, I would love to find restaurants without them. But in the meantime, know that Raymonds is very popular on pizza night. Marc & Elizabeth (the owners) have a child, Ella, who is adored by all. And she has many friends who come to play. So your experience was not unique. Nor can you expect it to change. Love the pizza so I get mine to go.

Tigress said...

I would also love to know where these alleged ample childfree restaurants are, especially considering most parents feel like their screaming children belong in any restaurant - be it McDonald's or a high-priced four-star restaurant. Yes, how dare those awful childfree people ruin your evening by trying to enjoy their dinner without children - how benevolent of you to impose your wonderful little cherubs on these people who have not experienced the hell - I mean joy of parenthood, or possibly parents who wisely left their children with a sitter. Ever hear of one of those? Their people you hire to watch your kids while you go out and have some form of a life. You will thank yourself, as will everyone around you if you took advantage of a sitter. Perhaps the concept of a sitter is too foreign to you - how about Grandma's house? Or how about staying home and ordering a pizza if you can't stand to be in the presence of someone who is childfree?

Anonymous said...

Russian river rattina said:

"Lighten up, taurusgirl & bravewolf. Your apparent bitterness comes across as highly unattractive"

You ALSO said in your original blog entry:

" even felt somewhat angry at these people with the huge table hogging up the room -- "

It seems your bitterness also comesa cross as highly unattractive. Jealous much?

Anonymous said...

If that is the biggest complaint you have, consider yourself very lucky. We are all on this planet together and the more we can respect each other, the more pleasant everyone's experiences will be.
Some people like adult time. Life isn't going to be perfect 100% of the time.

Anonymous said...

Heh -

interesting that any time someone dares to suggest that in adult-oriented places and events children either should not be or they should be on their best behavior and nothing but, poeple are up in arms and outraged,

but it is OK for parents to complain about the mere presence of people in a somewhat child friendly restaurant, people who are not iomposing on the space or quiet of anyone else.

The fact is, at the mere mention, not that there are venues in which children are not welcome, but simply that misbehavior is unwelcome people hit the ceiling.

Don't believe me? Google "Dan McCauley" and "A Taste of Heaven" sometime.

Would you really be OK with an actual childfree restaurant or other venue which made it clear that your children were not welcome?

Control Your Kids said...

Interesting topic. I have a whole blog dedicated to it!

Anonymous said...

Are you sure that those people at the table were childfree, or were they really parents enjoying a night out without the kids? Seems that childfree people wouldn't want to go to a family friendly restaurant with toyboxes and unruly kids for a fun night out. Unless the pizza is really THAT good as one poster suggested!