I have been wanting to take my husband to a local bakery cafe called Uprising for over a year. We tried to get there once but it was closed. This time I checked the times online and was pleased to see they would be open when we would be cruising past. Our Christmas gifts to each other this year were bicycles so we have been trying to get out on them every weekend. The bike path we use goes right past the residential neighbourhood where Uprising is located, a little detour down some side streets and we are there. One of the reasons Uprising is unique is that it's located in a residential street so you need to be a local to know about it.
My husband called ahead right before we left to see if they would have highchairs. Their answering machine said to email them, "ain't nobody got time for dat," so we left home and headed there. Our son is a big and busy 1.5 year old and unless he's in a high chair he will just want to run around everywhere. He will not be held with out a complete struggle. Needless to say our hearts sank when we arrived and found no high chair in sight.
When I went up to order our pastries and coffee I spoke to the woman at the counter and nicely asked her if there was any thought on getting highchairs for their bakery. She seemed a bit surprised that I would be asking and said gave me a bit of an aloof explanation including this -
"We don't really cater for that."
She could see my surprise by that response. When I pushed her further on it by saying that we had recently purchased bikes and would like to make regular visits to their bakery and that a highchair would make those trips possible she just made another empty excuse until she saw my dumbfounded face. Then she said "I'll put your suggestion to management." Thanks, I'm grateful but I'm not sure I'm convinced after hearing "we don't really cater for that."
Her statement says to me we don't really want young families here, go away.
So we will I guess. It's such a shame because this place has that nice Saturday morning vibe, let the sunshine in, relax and drink your coffee. The sourdough loaf I brought home from there is so incredibly more-ish and yummy. But at the bakery cafe we scarfed down our berry brioche with custard and our lightly flaked pain au chocolat to get the heck out of there; from memory those were delicious too. The waitress who was busking the tables was very sweet as well. In summation I'm saying this place has great atmosphere, food and friendly wait staff but I just left feeling on the out. What a shame.
It's not something I would have considered when I was pregnant, or before; that once you become a parent, you and your child will have moments where you are discriminated against just for being a young family.
Before you get upset and say that every cafe has the right to decide on the type of clientele they want you should hear me out. I'm not asking Uprising or any cafe like it to have a toy station, or a book shelf full of kiddy books, and I'm not asking them for crayons and paper for my kid to draw on. I'm not asking to bring my mother's group there next week (who would agree that once babies are mobile cafe's like this are out of the question anyway). All I'm asking for is to sit and eat my god damn pastry and coffee in the same manner which everyone else in their cafe gets to - and that's hands free and stress free!
And guess what? Other patrons will be able to enjoy their pastries a whole lot more while my kid quietly watches the wiggles on my phone, strapped into a highchair, rather than the alternative of him jumping up and down in our arms and screaming to get away from us. I feel like this place and others have given me a 5 year ban on their establishments because I had a baby.
The woman at the counter may as well have said "Please do not come and eat here for the next 5 years. We do not cater to small children. Bye." Funny 'cause I counted 4 other children in there, 2 pregnant women and one baby (besides my own). And on the way out we ran into friends and their newborn. Wonder where that baby is going to sit in months to come? Can't sit, he's banned.
I'm not daft enough to think or expect every place I visit should be family friendly, but I do think cutting out a big part of the market in your every-day cafe is just bad business. Some places are too small, too night club-ey, or too posh. I get that. But a bakery cafe? Where I can just pick a pastry and drink a coffee and be done at my table in half an hour? Come on, why is that too much to ask?
Is this a new culture of cool in cafe's and restaurants - keep young families out and hipsters in?
Let me know in the comments below.