"I know this may seem chaotic to you," Melissa Elders tells me loudly over the sound of clanks, bangs, and screams. "But this is actually extremely relaxing for the parents here."
Elders, the mom of 2-year-old Serena, is sitting in midtown Manhattan's Betony, a Michelin-starred restaurant that earned a three-star review from The New York Times' notoriously tough food critic, Pete Wells, in 2013.
Elders is the creator of a lunch club, Nibble and Squeak, meant for like-minded parents who are interested in food but might not get the chance to dine out with regularity. Many of them hadn't gone out to eat much since the birth of their children, like the parents at Betony on the day I visited a Nibble and Squeak event.
"I was looking for activities to do with my daughter when I was on maternity leave, and there were loads of options for music, art, and movement, but I wanted to feel like I was doing something fun for myself, too," Elders said. "I found that we were always grabbing lunch on the run, but not sitting down to enjoy a daytime meal together very often."
From there, her idea for Nibble and Squeak blossomed — she's now hosting two or three events a month in New York, and branching out to other cities across the US and in London.
Ahead, see what happened at the two-hour Nibble and Squeak luncheon at Betony:
The Michelin Guide's review of Betony praises its 'grown-up restaurant' atmosphere, referencing its 'gilded features, wood paneling, and well-spaced tables.' Nibble and Squeak's lunch was hosted in the private room downstairs.
Source: Michelin Guide
'When choosing restaurants for Nibble and Squeak, hospitality is extremely important. The staff needs to be friendly,' Elders said. At Betony, the service was impeccable. 'I used to babysit kids,' a waiter told one of the mothers as he playfully made faces at her child. 'Any chance you'd return to the business?' the mom said jokingly.
Although the atmosphere was noisy, the parents seemed relaxed. Some came with friends, and others with just their child. 'It's a relief for parents to enter a nice space like an upscale restaurant and know that they are expected and welcomed and prepared for,' Elders said.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider