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Boy, 4, thrown out for shirt: Restaurant's 'Gentlemen's Code' causes a stir

A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shirt caused a boy, 4, to be thrown out of a restaurant
A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shirt caused a boy, 4, to be thrown out of a restaurant
Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Nickelodeon

A restaurant in Atlanta is apologizing after a boy, 4, was thrown out for a shirt he was wearing. The Tavern at Phipps Plaza has a “Gentlemen's Dress Code,” and it seems staff there thought that young Lewis Roberts' shirt was unacceptable. WXIA shared the details on Thursday.

Roberts had chosen a sleeveless “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” shirt to wear as his family headed out for lunch recently. When the family tried to sit down at the Tavern, the hostess said that he could not dine because he did not meet the dress code. There is a sign displayed at the front of the restaurant that says gentlemen can not wear sleeveless shirts, and there are no jerseys or hats allowed after 4 p.m.

Naturally the family didn't think that the shirt would be an issue on a young child, but the hostess felt otherwise. When the family asked to speak to a manager, that manager agreed that the shirt was an issue. The manager said that the dress code applied to “gentlemen of all ages.” The family left.

Since then, the story of the boy thrown out for his shirt has gone viral. USA Today shares that the restaurant has now issued a statement regarding their policy and the incident. They say that the dress code applies to men, but not women or children. Company spokeswoman Amber Stewart indicates that this was “an embarrassing misunderstanding on our part.” She adds that the manager involved was still in training, and that this was a “gross misunderstanding of our policy.”

The restaurant says they have reached out to the family involved. The family says they have accepted the apology, and they do plan to return to the Tavern to dine soon. Will the boy, 4, thrown out for his shirt head back with the same “TMNT” shirt on the next time they head to the Tavern? It seems he might, and here's hoping the staff is all on the same page this time around.