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Alinea and 'Babygate:' Should Babies Be Allowed in Fine Dining?

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[Photograph: Lauren Rothman]

Should you take a baby to a fine dining restaurant? That's the hot topic du jour, after Alinea's Grant Achatz tweeted about a couple bringing in their eight-month-old baby, who proceeded to cry and anger other diners. The chef didn't ask the couple to leave, but the incident sparked a flurry of strong responses, and has since been dubbed "Babygate" (naturally, there's already a @AlineaBaby Twitter account).

Good Morning America talked to Achatz this morning, who explained: "We want people to come and enjoy and experience Alinea for what it is. But we also have to be cognizant of the other 80 people that came in to experience Alinea that night."

"Personally, I've taken my five-month-old daughter to a number of restaurants, though most have been quick stops at places like taquerias, where kids are truly welcomed. Trying to keep her occupied during a three to four hour, 18-course meal would be some version of my living hell," says our Chicago editor Nick Kindelsperger. On the topic of Babygate, he adds: "Someone claimed that the couple's babysitter bailed at the last minute. Because Alinea does tickets like Next, they wouldn't have been able to reschedule and would have lost their money (and that meal is lot of money). If that's the case, it does complicate the situation, but no one knows exactly what happened."

What do you think? Should babies be allowed in fine dining situations? Let us know in the comments!

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