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Restaurant Owner Issues Apology Following Facebook Flap

A kerfuffle involving moms, their babies and the owner of Bloomington’s Le Petit Café restaurant has apparently been resolved after a public tiff on Facebook.

It started when the co-owner of Bloomington’s Le Petit Café posted a note on the restaurant’s Facebook page complaining about two women who’d brought their young children to dinner.  Marina Ballor-Fiore’s note says she tried to dissuade moms Amanda Field and Brea Carlson from having dessert, and when they did anyway, she overcharged them because their babies made some noise. 

When Indiana Public Media caught up with Ballor-Fiore, though, she realized she’d made a mistake and apologized on tape to the two women, saying a free meal for Field, Carlson and their families seems in order…

“Oh, it’s the least I can do,” she said. “And their husband, and the babies – I want to have those babies.  And Amanda was funny about it. She said ‘Well, you know, my three-year old is a handful, are you sure you want to go for that?’  I said yes, it will be my public mea culpa.  I want to go for as many screaming babies as possible.”

Field said she’s exchanged messages with Ballor-Fiore and considers the apology accepted and the matter settled.  Most upsetting, she said, may have been internet message board posts which subsequently popped up chastising her parenting skills…

“There was a lot of negative things and they were either saying like ‘the moms are morons, the moms are selfish, the moms should have known that they were being so rude,’” she said. “They didn’t know the whole story, they weren’t there, they just assumed that we literally sat there and let our babies scream. They said things like ‘why didn’t they hold them, why didn’t they nurse them, why didn’t they take care of their children?’”

But will Le Petit Café’s clientele be turned off by the public anti-baby fervor?  Ballor-Fiore says she accepts that business may suffer.

“Quite frankly, had I thought more about that I probably would not have done it that way…what a stupid thing to say…but I knew some people would be very angry with me and I always thought I may lose a few customers,” she said.

Field said she plans to eat at the restaurant in the future and hopes to accept the offer of a free meal as a final apology.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=20926720 Amber Kennedy Kent

    I’m very glad to see she finally apologized.  To me, the issue wasn’t even about the babies…it was about the fact that a restaurant owner (especially a small restaurant) shouldn’t be complaining publicly about their customers.  (It was on her restaurant’s official page, not some anonymous or personal blog.)  And then, when she realized the customers were fans of the page and saw the tirade, she still didn’t apologize for the snafu.  At other restaurants, waiters have been fired for complaining on their personal pages about bad tipping customers, etc, because it is bad business, so I was shocked to see an owner would be so rude.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AURERMFDKKSL2YYV5VKQJIK2CE SerenaJ

    The only people owed an apology were the other paying customers who had to listen to these children. When you become a parent YOUR life changes not those around you. The owner is entitled to refuse service to anyone and should be able to say whatever they please. The two women in question were the rude ones. 

  • Claude2 Buc

    bonjour marina peut etre te souviens tu de moi claude maurer he oui cela fera un certain nombres d’années en arriere sans nouvelles comme je le vois tu est aux usa avec ton homme ou vous exploitez un restaurant ,pourras tu me donner cette adresse ainsi en passant je ferais un coucou
    autrement as tu des nouvelles des anciens du val?? et martine richard que je recherche en vain?? bises et au plaisir de te lire

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  • Vaughan

    She complained on her facebook page about a noisy baby in her restaurant? Mature. But who cares, the food at that place is lousy anyway.

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