This Restaurant Is Charging a Fee for Unruly Children

Illustration by Hazel Zavala

Welcome to Delicious or Distressing, where we rate recent food memes, videos, and other entertainment news. Last week we discussed Wawa’s new pizza.

Questions about parenting and restaurant etiquette are bound to yield lots of strong opinions—independently two hot topics, even more so in tandem. Redditors resurfaced this discourse with respect to a Georgia restaurant charging a $50 fee for misbehaving children—a “parent surcharge,” as they termed it. It’s sticky territory, but it’s tough to see parents punished, particularly financially, for cranky child behavior—after all, we former children surely all had our cranky moments. We discuss more below.

Also this week, we as a society collectively learned that Cup Noodles were never microwaveable—until now, that is. It was also discovered that actor Robert De Niro once had his assistant order him a Nobu martini during the wee hours of the night (specific type of martini is unknown but speculations abound). Lastly, the internet has a big fat crush on “Dollarita Steve,” who tossed back Dollaritas at Applebees as an earthquake rocked the Bay Area.

Read more below on this week’s food news around the internet.

Should restaurants charge fees for poorly behaved children?

Toccoa Riverside Restaurant, a restaurant in Georgia, is in the news this week for allegedly charging families a surcharge for their children’s “bad behavior.” The fee, $50 tacked onto a diner’s bill, apparently dates back to the early pandemic. But the restaurant’s owner tells local news that he hasn’t even threatened guests with the fee until recently, although reviews on Google paint a picture of a restaurant that is, at the very least, hostile towards its youngest visitors. “The owner came out and told me he was adding $50 to my bill because of my children’s behavior,” one reviewer wrote. “My kids watched a tablet until the food arrived, ate their food and my wife took them outside while I waited and paid the bill.” (The owner tells Atlanta News First that no customer has actually had to pay the fee.)

I don’t personally have kids, and I understand why—when visiting a restaurant and spending hard earned dollars on a nice meal—diners may get frustrated with loud or misbehaving children. But I was a child at one point, and I would bet money that, despite my parents’ best efforts, I almost certainly cried or yelled or made a mess at a restaurant during that time. I’m sure you, dear reader, did too. And I’d also bet that failing to behave as a child and learning your lesson in the process probably made you a better restaurant patron in the long run.

The reality is that parents and children (even the annoying ones) are people too, and I’d rather live in a world where all people are included—even if that world is a little louder. After all, as Jessica Blankenship once wrote for Bon Appétit, “Dining has never been a matter of an individual's experience—it's a collective one.” So, while I get charging for damaged furniture or decor in the event a child (or adult!) breaks something, surcharges for something as subjective as “bad behavior” is going to be a big, stinking “no” from me. 3.5/5 distressing. —Alma Avalle, digital production associate

Cup Noodles are microwaveable now

I’m going to confess right now: I have microwaved Cup Noodles in the polystyrene cup many, many times. In collegiate, drunken hazes, I have definitely slammed a Cup Noodles into the ‘wave, waited right in front of the Faraday cage for it to heat up, and immediately downed its electromagnetic molecules. In fact, I have done this sober, as an adult. I’m not proud of it and I am treating this blurb as a safe space to share with you. Thankfully, people like me who play it fast and loose with chemical compounds no longer need to feel shame: Cup Noodles has announced that, starting in 2024, it will be officially microwaveable thanks to its new paper packaging. The packaging will also reduce cooking time from three minutes to two minutes and 15 seconds—a precious 45 seconds, in our harried day and age. What’s more, it’s far more sustainable, with a cup made of 40% recycled fiber and a sleeve made with 100% recycled paper. For the sake of college students and adults who don’t read product instructions everywhere, I’ll rate this a 4.4/5 delicious. —Karen Yuan, culture editor

Robert DeNiro Ubered a “particular martini” from Nobu at 11 p.m.

Robert De Niro’s assistant is suing him in court, alleging that he sent her on superfluous “work wife” expeditions, including but not limited to getting him a very specific martini from Nobu (the restaurant he co-owns). He's countersuing (claiming she “loafed” during work hours), and it's all a big mess. Once, so the claim goes, De Niro asked the assistant to get him a single "particular" martini at 11 p.m. It’s unclear what this “particular martini” entails, but according to Insider, De Niro once declared that he takes his martinis made with Hendricks and a cucumber, shaken. That sounds like a martini that James Bond would order if he moved to Los Angeles and became a skincare influencer, if you ask me. Shaken, as martini drinkers know, means a watered-down martini, and with only a cucumber as a garnish you're really just drinking mostly unflavored gin that's very cold. A particular martini indeed. I'm giving this news an ice-cold, alcoholic, 3.9/5 distressing. —Sam Stone, staff writer

“Dollarita Steve” is going viral for “slammin’” Dollaritas” at Applebees when an earthquake hit the Bay Area

I recently got engaged but I already have a new soulmate. His name is Steve Mazzari—“Dollarita Steve” to you. Last Friday night, while a 3.9-magnitude earthquake rocked the Bay Area, my boy told KTVU-TV that he’d been “slammin’” the promotional $1 margaritas at a Fisherman’s Wharf Applebee’s during the shake. The decision to dine at Applebee’s was “entirely ironic,” he later clarified, prompted by nobody’s favorite chain airing its “Dollarita’s Back” ads in football games. Lush handlebar mustache and nouveau Jack Sparrow vibe aside, what I really love about Steve is his earning potential. After his televised bit achieved landmark virality on X (formerly Twitter)—“Nothing but respect for my president,” wrote one user—honey is going after sponsorship deals. So far Applebee’s is playing hard to get, but “I will take my business to Chili’s if it comes to that,” he told SF Gate. While boo and I live happily ever after, beware that the Dollarita is a fleeting special. I’m rating my king this very important news a 5/5 delicious. —Ali Francis, staff writer

Originally Appeared on Bon Appétit

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