The sign on the door reads, "No children."

Michelle Darrisaw
November 3, 2017

If you frequently dine out at restaurants or swanky rooftop bars, you’ve probably noticed this sign hanging somewhere: "No shoes, no shirt, no service." To refuse to serve someone based on their dress code is understandable, but never before have we seen limitations placed on bringing your kids to a family-friendly restaurant—until now.

Although Southerners are known for their hospitality about as much as they are for their down-home cooking, Hampton Station in Tampa, Florida, isn’t so welcoming anymore when it comes to children. The neighborhood pizza and craft beer establishment has been in operation for almost three years, and was accustomed to serving up its deliciously cheesy slices and pepperoni-covered pies to families. Now, after a few unpleasant incidents involving some rambunctious children, the owner of Hampton Station has a new rule stamped on his front door: "NO CHILDREN."

Needless to say, the white-lettered sign, featuring the two words in all caps, has left a bad taste in the mouths of some families.

"I definitely think that sales are gonna take a dip," said Troy Taylor, the owner at Hampton Station. "We had an incident last week where some kids were endangering themselves and others. I haven’t got much sleep the past four or five days really, because of this. This is my livelihood."

Taylor had the sign engraved on the front door on Tuesday, October 24. Once the sign was photographed and shared on social media, the backlash online and ongoing war between parents for and against Taylor’s decision commenced on Facebook.

A member sent us this. There is a local place called Hampton Station in Seminole Heights has a No Children sign on their...

Posted by Tampa Bay Moms Group on Thursday, October 26, 2017

"Now that children are banned, I don't see any reason to go there," wrote one commenter on the Tampa Bay Moms Facebook group.

Along that same sentiment, one upset critic added that if the "establishment was built on families, then you should support families."

A reviewer even took to Yelp to weigh in on the situation, giving the restaurant a lone gold star and writing the following message: "No children. All caps. The biggest font, at the top of the door. All after gladly accepting money from families for two years. Rude. The owner is entitled to his opinion. 'No Children Please' would suffice. Have some class."

One mom who is on Taylor’s side, surprisingly, is the woman who originally shared the photo of the restaurant’s ban on Facebook.

"While it seems some may say this isn't fair or is some sort of discrimination or are simply upset about the change to the demographic they are looking to bring in," she posted in the Tampa Bay Moms Facebook group. "I'm thinking I'd like to have a date night or moms night out here. Am I the odd mom out?"

The answer is no.

Another commenter wrote recently: "When I go out to eat, I do not want to deal with the histrionics of out-of-control children that their parents either can't manage or don't care about their behavior in public...I pay money, too, when I go out. I don't want to feel like I'm in a day care center. I like what these people [are doing] with their place. Fully supported."

In the past few days, more and more parents have come to Taylor’s defense. However, there are still a few people who argue that all families shouldn’t suffer because of the actions of a few.

Ever heard the saying, "One bad apple spoils the whole bunch?" Then perhaps you can understand why Taylor felt he had to make this excruciating decision, even if it’s bad for business. Though, he insisted that he didn’t make the decision lightly and it’s not indicative of his feelings towards kids in general. Since he doesn’t want to single out parents, the rule, he said, must apply to everyone.  

There’s just as much support for Hampton Station's kids-free policy as there are critics of it. Let us know where you stand on the issue.