When our son was about 18 months old, my wife and I thought we might try taking him out to a restaurant. He was a generally quiet, well-behaved kid, even at that age, and we made sure we brought lots of quiet activities and even some Cheerios and other toddler snacks for the wait.
We picked a pizza restaurant that is considered one of the best in the city, but also family-friendly. We arrived around 5:00 so we could be served before the evening rush, and it wasn’t busy at the time. We sat down, received our menus and asked for just ice water to start (in hindsight, maybe that was our mistake – we didn’t order drinks).
We ordered a pizza and waited.
Not long after ordering, a larger party arrived and sat nearby. They ordered wine for the adults and soft drinks for the kids. We waited some more.
The other table ordered their food. We waited. Our son got a little cranky so we gave him some Cheerios.
After awhile we gave him something else. We were out of things for him to do other than sing “Old MacDonald” to him, which probably wouldn’t have gone over too well with the other patrons.
The other table received their food. We waited some more, but only until we could snag our waiter, who was now quite a bit busier, since nearly an hour had passed and many more people had come in.
Our son was now behaving the way you would expect an 18-month-old to behave after sitting in a high chair for nearly an hour watching other people eat.
We got our waiter’s attention and explained that we had not received our food, even though we ordered before the other party had even arrived. We said something about our pizza being cooked in the “slow” oven.
After a little while longer, our son was being more than a little disruptive. We don’t blame him, but we also knew that others didn’t come to this restaurant to sit beside a cranky toddler. So we packed up our baby paraphernalia and started walking toward the host’s station.
On our way we were intercepted by an older woman who may or may not have been the owner or manager. We explained the situation and she called our waiter over. When he gave her the explanation about the “slow” oven, she exclaimed loudly, “What slow oven? We don’t have any slow ovens!”
I don’t know which of the two was right, but we were starving so we asked for the pizza to go, drove the half-hour drive home and “enjoyed” it at room temperature.
That was in 2001 and we haven’t been back since.
G. Ottawa, Canada