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Keeping order: Restaurant promotes well-behaved kids

Photo by Tori Boone

Photo by Tori Boone

BUFORD -- The breaking point came when a little boy throwing rocks shattered a glass lantern outside Laurie Attaway's restaurant, the child's mother standing just five feet away.

A sign recently posted at both entrances to Third Coast Grille following that incident reads, "Well behaved children welcomed," in bold, capital letters. "In fairness to all our guests please supervise your children for the duration of your visit. Thank you!"

Attaway, who has owned the Buford seafood eatery for the past 14 years, found herself fed up with children going berserk in her place of business.

"Kids come in there on the weekends and they just run crazy and they put their food all over the floor and they climb all over the booths," Attaway said. "They just run crazy.

"I'm not exaggerating," she said. "It really is right out of a movie and I have children, so I wonder who would let kids act like this?"

While the Lake Lanier area seafood restaurant caters to children, with its large, paper mache replicas of ocean-dwelling animals and paintings of cartoon-like sea creatures, out-of-control antics of some customers' children prompted the new sign welcoming kids who can behave well.

"We're a family restaurant, so it's not like we don't want kids coming in," Attaway said. "We just don't want kids acting crazy."

Attaway isn't alone in her frustration as a restaurant owner over disruptive children. Two signs posted on different walls inside the downtown Lawrenceville restaurant Oyster Bay Cafe read, "Oyster Bay Seafood Cafe is a family environment, however if your children are loud and screaming then they affect the other guests. Please control your children so that everyone can enjoy their visit to Oyster Bay Seafood Cafe."

A server said the signs were posted as a result of a recent incident involving children playing on the bar and another in which customers asked restaurant staff that something be done to control a couple of unruly kids.

The owner of a North Carolina eatery made national headlines earlier this month when she placed a paper sign in a window that read, "Screaming Children Will NOT Be Tolerated!"

Brenda Armes, owner of Olde Salty in Carolina Beach, N.C., has told media outlets the sign has brought in more customers rather than turning them away.

Customer response at Third Coast Grille so far has been, Attaway said, surprisingly positive.

"We've had one customer so far that got irritated because (another) customer, I guess her kids were acting inappropriately, and some customer told her she needed to go read the sign," Attaway said.

"A lot of customers have said, 'Thank you for taking an initiative,' and that children running amok has been driving them insane," added manager Jennifer Long.

Johns Creek resident Millard Bowen, who had lunch there Friday, said when children come into a restaurant, they ought to behave and parents should make sure their children are respectful of other diners.

"It is unfortunate that this sign had to posted, but I understand that sometimes in these economic conditions people want to look after their customers and are trying to create an atmosphere where they will enjoy a meal without a disturbance," Millard said. "I have grandchildren, and I am very respectful of other people when they are in a restaurant with us."

Attaway plans to keep the sign up permanently.

"It's part of us now," she said. "I think the general rule in society right now with the economy being like it is, if (people) spending money on (eating out) they shouldn't have to contend with other people's poor parenting."