By Mike Pomranz
Updated March 02, 2016
Credit: © Laurence Mouton/Getty Images

Brining young kids to nice restaurants is a constant point of contention for all parties involved. Parents just want to be able to enjoy a night out while also fulfilling their natural duty of keeping the planet populated. Non-parents are like, “hey, we didn’t tell you to get yourself into that mess.” And while the restaurants get caught in the middle, they also have their own problems trying to dodge toddlers running around like they own the joint.

Melissa Elders, a New York City parent of a 15-month old, believes she has a solution. She’s set up the group Nibble+squeak, described as “Dining for parents with pipsqueaks.” Elders’ group works as an intermediary between restaurants and parents, setting up group meals where parents can get a full dining experience with the prearranged agreement that young children will be in tow.

Nibble+squeak pulls this off in a number of ways. First, Elders works specifically with restaurants she knows will be into the idea. She books these meals primarily during lunch hours when restaurants could use the extra business and don’t mind boxing out other customers. And Elders herself goes in and gets the restaurant child-ready so restaurant owners don’t need to worry about that hassle. For the restaurants’ part, all the meals are prepaid so they know exactly what their cut will be. And Elders told Grub Street she builds in a “generous” tip, admitting “we're a needy group.”

Of course, in some ways, Nibble+squeak could be seen as amplifying the problem of kids in restaurants instead of removing it, being that not only do you have to contend with your own kids but everyone else’s as well. But hey, misery loves company, right?