Tampa Bay Owner Restaurant Owner Has a Few Words to Say About Children in His Restaurant

A Tampa Bay pizza shop and bar in Seminole Heights has been slammed by the local community after it changed its entrance policy to reject all children. The criticism became even more pronounced when a photo of the restaurant’s ‘No Children’ sign was posted to a local Mom’s Group.

Troy Taylor, the owner of the restaurant, The Hampton Station Pizza Shop, has calmly swallowed the abuse, telling local media outlets that the rule change was a way to keep young children safe. According to Mr. Taylor, parents – thinking that serving staff had time to mind errant kids – would often let their children run wild in the restaurant.

The lack of supervision was not only an annoyance to other patrons, it could also be dangerous for the children. The alcoholic environment in the bar and the unrestricted patio access to busy Seminole roads were just two of the reasons why Mr. Taylor was worried about child safety.

The decision to ban kids at the restaurant was only made after one young child was nearly hurt due to a complete absence of parental supervision.

Now, Mr. Taylor finally decided to do something about the predicament, telling the Tampa Bay Times: “A kid was in danger and could have seriously been hurt. It’s a liability and safety issue.

After the incident, I thought, this can’t happen again,” he said. “It’s one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. It’s been gut-wrenching.”

The reaction from online commenters has ranged from enthusiastic approval to accusations of discrimination. “How does this not fall into some type of discrimination?” asked one Facebook user.

Another commenter pointed out that he had always enjoyed taking his kids to the pizza restaurant, saying: “This is a place that neighborhood families rallied around. I mean, this place literally uses action figures as their order markers.”

However, despite the criticism, it looks like Mr. Taylor’s policy has a lot of support too. “Fine by me! I don’t have to take my kids everywhere with me and there's also plenty of other pizza places I can take them with me if I chose to,” wrote one blunt social media user.

After the Tampa Bay Mom’s Facebook group blew up, Mr. Taylor took the time to answer some questions and try and explain his decision. After being rudely abused by Facebook users, the restaurant owner calmly told the group that keeping long-term customers meant nothing as long as “a child might get hurt at Hampton.”

"We had a lot of great kids come in to Hampton and we are going to miss them, but this had to be done for everyone's well being," posted Mr. Taylor.

A local waitress and mother, Courtney Mattin, spoke to the Tampa Bay Times about the controversy, defending Mr. Taylor and saying: "I’m happy to see restaurants are taking a stand and saying, ‘We don’t want kids in here being noisy or messy, we’re going to create an environment for adults only.’ I was a waitress for six years and kids running around a restaurant is one of the most dangerous things in the world."

Source: Fox News
Photos: Hampton Station, Daniel Jędzura/123RF Stock Photo, Pixabay, Tampa Bay Moms Group/Facebook

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