The Sushi Bar’s No-Child Policy

Alexandria Eatery Serves Adults Only

Restaurateurs Mike Anderson and his partner Bill Blackburn have launched another restaurant in Alexandria, The Sushi Bar at 2312 Mount Vernon Ave., and it comes with a no children allowed policy.

 The policy, which only patrons 18 and older, has sparked controversy within in Alexandria, with both residents lining up on both sides of the issue.

Also known as “Mango Mike,” Anderson opened his first family restaurant–Mango Mike’s– in 1996. Pork Barrel BBQ opened next in November 2011, followed by Holy Cow and Del Ray’s Gourmet Burger Joint on Nov. 6, 2012. The Sushi Bar is their third restaurant within the 2300 block of Mount Vernon Ave.

The Sushi Bar opened six months ago, serving sushi and saké to its customers. The Bar provides a cozy lounge-like atmosphere for patrons who want to enjoy an intimate setting on date nights or simply a more mature crowd. A customer at the Sushi Bar who would only give her first name, Sean, said the child-free atmosphere appeals to her because sometimes even devoted parents need time away from their children.

 “I don’t mind dining with children because I have a child of my own. But it does make a difference,” she said. “It’s a more calming environment.”

 The Benjamins, a couple comfortably seated at the restaurant’s bar area said they were fine with the policy banning children. “We agree with the policy, Benjamin said. “We’d rather dine with adults.”  

The Sushi Bar is the first of its kind to introduce a no children policy to Alexandria. Given that the Sushi Bar is located in a family oriented neighborhood has helped to generate some opposition to the concept.

In commentary posted on www.delray.patch.com,John Arbuckle wrote, “I really hope all ‘you people’ protesting on this wonderful website will picket the new restaurant. I look forward to your signs blocking the sun for me while I enjoy my wonderful sushi in an adult environment.”

Laurel Dudzic, who also opposes the no children policy, posted on the same website that she is the mother of four children and will not patronize the Sushi Bar. “I would like to know, are the kids just supposed to sit outside the restaurant while the adults eat? Sounds kind of childish to me,” Dudzic wrote. “I have four kids, and have decided, I will not eat at any of your restaurants. Some of us don’t have the option of just leaving our kids at home, ever think of that?”

In a phone interview, co-owner Bill Blackburn said he understands that The Sushi Bar is located in a family-oriented neighbourhood. “We felt the need to create a different environment for the adults,” he said.

Blackburn said he thinks The Sushi Bar will be as successful as his other restaurants, Pork Barrel BBQ and Holy Cow Burgers. “They are different restaurants aimed at different customers,” he said. “All three are doing great and my partner and I are very pleased.”

Anderson is not anti-children. He is the father of three girls. All his restaurants are family oriented. He did not respond to a request for an interview for this article. But in an interview published on WUSA-TV’s website, Anderson said, “It’s not like we’re saying, we hate kids, we don’t want kids. We love kids. I got kids…You need to find a niche and we think this is the right niche for the sushi bar.”