The owner of a popular Vandalia restaurant has apologized for an incident that ended with a local mother and her family leaving the eatery embarrassed after attempting to feed her baby Gerber Mac and cheese.
Leann Kreusch-McLaughlin, the owner of Bunkers Sports Bar and Grill along with her mother Marylou Kreusch, said the incident Saturday was due to a misunderstanding about the sports bar’s outside food policy that she has since clarified with her employees.
“There are always exceptions to every rule,” she said. “The one thing that is upsetting is the thought that we don’t want kids. That is as far from the truth as we can get.”
Whitney Hague told this news organization Monday that a Bunkers manager confronted her family after her 1-year-old daughter’s grandfather prepared to feed the toddler from a package of Gerber Mac and cheese Saturday.
“She said ‘sir, If you open that, I am going to ask you to leave,” Hague recalled.
The family of four left the restaurant.
Hague said she and her family called the restaurant later and the manager stood her ground on the incident regarding outside food.
Hague posted about the incident on Facebook, prompting conversation.
Hague said she posted about the incident on Facebook because many of her friends have small children, and she believed the restaurant’s policy on feeding infant outside food had changed based on her experience.
“It made me feel like I was doing something wrong, and all I wanted to do was feed my baby,” she said. “I just didn’t want another family to have (that experience). It was an embarrassing situation. The whole restaurant knew what was going on.”
The post resulted in dozens of comments from Bunkers supporters and those in support of the Hague family, co-owners of Vandalia Range and Armory
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Hague said that McLaughlin called her to personally apologize Monday and that she accepts that apology.
She removed her Facebook post, and the restaurant removed a post it added to its page apologizing for the situation.
Hague said her family had eaten at Bunkers numerous times and always has had good service.
“I am sure my family will be back there,” she said.
Bunkers is among Dayton’s most popular sports taverns.
It won Best Wings in Dayton.com’s 2017 Best of Dayton readers poll. It grabbed third place in the Best Bloody Mary contest that year and has placed or won in the best sports bar, best beer bar and best place to eat breakfast in prior contests.
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Kreusch-McLaughlin said she and her staff of 48 strive to make Bunkers a welcoming place for their customers, families included.
Their “common sense” no outside food or drink policy was in response to adults and teenagers bringing outside food into the restaurant.
It was never intended to relate to babies, she said. She sent a memo on the subject to her employees, outlining examples of exceptions to the rule.
Kreusch-McLaughlin, the 10th of 12 children and the mother of two children, said the Hagues are good customers and understands why Whitney Hague was upset and felt she needed to defend her child.
>> RELATED: Why Bunkers is not your average sports bar (July 29, 2016)
Kreusch-McLaughlin said she likewise found the incident and the online kerfuffle that resulted upsetting.
“When you pride yourself on your service and you find anything where people feel like they are targeted, it is one of those things you want to fix quickly,” she said.
What do you think of how this local sports bar handled the situation initially, and then later?
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