In a move that has ignited both applause and outrage, Bliss Restaurant in St. Louis, Missouri, has implemented a unique age restriction policy aimed at maintaining a “sophisticated environment” free from the “drama” often associated with younger patrons. The upscale Caribbean eatery now requires female customers to be at least 30 years old and male customers to be at least 35.

Assistant Manager Erica Rhodes explained that the policy was introduced to attract a more mature clientele. “The restaurant is just something for the older people to come do, have a happy hour, come get some good food and not have to worry about some of the young folks who bring some of that drama,” Rhodes told KSDK.

Owner Marvin Pate, 36, is firmly behind the decision, despite receiving some backlash. “I think Bliss is a home away from home,” Pate said. “You can come here and actually feel like you’re at a resort. People will feel like they’re on a vacation.”

To ensure compliance, Bliss Restaurant has enlisted the help of hostesses and even St. Louis County police officers to check IDs of any customers who appear to be under the age threshold.

The age restriction has sparked a lively debate online. Supporters of the policy applaud the restaurant for creating a space where mature adults can enjoy a peaceful dining experience. One Facebook user commented, “Love this cuz not only it’s for the mature crowd but it makes you wanna go out again without the nonsense.”

Another supporter wrote, “I love the age requirements. Please keep it like this. Don’t change it a lot of places back in the day had age requirements I’m glad that somebody finally taking it back protect your business I support!!”

Others, however, are critical of the exclusionary policy. One user lamented, “So I’m 33, so that means I can’t eat here??” Another added, “Imagine being a mature, respectful and well-mannered 32-year-old male… and being too young to eat somewhere.”

Some critics suggest that raising prices, rather than imposing an age restriction, would be a more effective way to deter disruptive behavior. “I get it but an age restriction for a restaurant is a bit of a reach unless it’s a bar and event space too IMO. If they want to deter disruptive crowds it’s better to raise the price range not the age range. Some behaviors are age maturity some are status,” one commenter opined.

Bliss Restaurant is not alone in its controversial approach. Last year, Nettie’s House of Spaghetti in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, banned children under 10 from dining there, citing the challenges of accommodating young children.

Bliss plans to introduce to-go orders soon for those who don’t meet the age requirement but still want to enjoy their Caribbean cuisine. This decision aims to mitigate some of the backlash and offer a compromise for younger patrons eager to sample the restaurant’s offerings.

From a conservative standpoint, Bliss Restaurant’s age restriction can be seen as a commendable effort to uphold standards and cater to a specific demographic seeking a refined dining experience. In an era where respect for law enforcement and traditional values is often under siege, Bliss stands as a testament to the right of businesses to create environments that reflect their values and serve their desired clientele. The controversy surrounding this policy underscores the broader cultural debates about inclusivity, freedom of choice, and the right of businesses to operate as they see fit.