Binz, Germany restaurant Oma’s Küche—“Grandma’s Kitchen”—might sound family-friendly, but that hospitality doesn’t extend to children under the age of 14 after lunch time. Oma’s Küche owner Rudolf Markl told DW.com that, fed up with parents who can’t control their kids, he recently instituted a no-children-after-5-p.m. policy in order to create “an oasis of peace.”
Markl says the final straw came when some unruly children damaged antique photo stands that decorate the restaurant; he tells DW.com that parents “acknowledge it with a smile, keep on eating, and don’t care at all.” The policy, Markl says, isn’t anti-children, but is aimed instead at their oblivious parents. It’s the latest in a series of such no-child policies at restaurants around the globe, from New Zealand to the U.K.
Regardless of your feelings toward the policy, you can’t help but be taken with Markl’s “oasis of peace” phrasing. (We’d expect nothing less from the language that also has a specific phrase for “champagne drunk.”) If only restaurants were always oases of peace! Of course, it’s not just kids that detract from such a Platonic ideal; we also blame cell phones, rude patrons, loud music, and unnecessary tableside theatrics. Maybe Oma’s Küchen could ban those, too?
According to the head of the Hotel and Restaurant in the German state that includes the restaurant, establishments may decide for themselves whether to allow children, so Markl’s policy is completely legal. But is it moral? Hospitable? As a person without children, I don’t much have a horse in this race, so I leave the commentary to those who do. My colleague Gwen Ihnat, the mother of twins, put it thusly when discussing a New Zealand restaurant that banned children: “Instead of trying to make kids adapt to an untenable situation that’s destined for failure, parents may want to just take them to a place more family-friendly, with fewer breakable plates and more chicken nuggets, at least until they age past their most destructive tendencies.”
That sounds reasonable to me, but I know there are also parents of well-behaved children out there who will be upset that their kids are deprived of dinner at Oma’s Küchen. So someone help me out: What’s the German word for feeling frustrated when a restaurant bans your children after 5 p.m.?