Austin Family Restaurants and Men Fighting in Underwear

My oldest daughter and I were out running errands a few days ago and decided to stop and eat dinner at the Green Mesquite restaurant in Oak Hill, near our home. Green Mesquite has always been a good place to grab a quick meal, and we’ve eaten there as a family many times over the years, often with friends and their kids too. It’s always been a kid-friendly place, and the food is consistently mediocre, which is good enough for us. We’ve always liked the causal atmosphere and good service.

We’ve gone less frequently though since a new owner took over the Oak Hill location earlier this year and installed TVs that are on all the time. We choose to limit media in our household and our kids don’t even watch TV. It’s become harder to go out and eat in Austin (or to the doctor, or to get an oil change, or a haircut, etc.) without having TV be front and center nowadays. Do we need this much TV?

Anyway, I wasn’t paying attention to the TV in Green Mesquite this day. While we were eating, Shelly asked “Daddy, why are those men fighting in their underwear?” I looked up at the TV and saw what at first looked like boxing, until I noticed the men were barefooted, wearing speedos, and also kicking each other. Then one guy had the other down on the mat, twisting his arm and holding him in some sort of pin down. It looked like street fighting and was pretty violent I thought. It looked like the one guy was about to break the other guy’s arm. And we are seeing this in a “Family Restaurant”.

I said to my daughter “I guess they like fighting in their underwear and some people like watching them do that. Don’t look at the TV”. I complained to the manager who changed the channel.

Austin is a family friendly town with many kid friendly restaurants, but more and more there seems to be a lack of sensitivity to what is and isn’t appropriate for children (or anyone for that matter) to see. I encountered a similar scene one day walking into Best Buy on Hwy 290 and seeing a violent video game blasting with high volume on a TV screen near the entrance. A kid was playing the game and the characters were punching and kicking each other, with blood squirting from their faces when a punch landed. I complained to the manager, who immediately turned it off. What are these people thinking when they have something like that greet customers as they walk in the door?

I’m either too sensitive to this stuff or society has become numb to these violent TV and video images. I hope more people will start paying attention and lodging complaints whenever you see this sort of thing. Let’s keep Austin Weird, but also Kid Friendly!

8 thoughts on “Austin Family Restaurants and Men Fighting in Underwear”

  1. No offense, though I do agree with you, you have a few options, turn away or do not frequent the establishment. By “forcing” (and I know that is a harsh word) your views of what is appropriate or violent or insensitive on others, that becomes a bigger problem for society. We all should be sensitive and respectful to views of others, but to force my or yours views on others then it shows we have no respect for their choices – and that just isnt right.

  2. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for your comments.

    I’ll have to disagree with you. I think it’s reasonable for parents in Austin to expect that kids can be taken into places such as the electronics store, the barber shop, a family restaurant, etc. without being exposed to media that would be rated “PG-13” or even “R” on a movie rating system.

    I do agree that we can just not come back, but I also think managers and store owners should be made aware of things that cause parents/customers to be unhappy. Then management can choose to ignore that information or make changes.

  3. Steve, maybe you should consider moving to a more socially conservative/controlled area like Utah or Idaho where people actually protest in front of Victoria Secrete for showing model pictures with underware…

    Austin is obviously both liberal and raw (that’s a texas thing).

    Personally, I think instead of shielding children from the world of reality (our human world are filled with violence and tragedies) and creating a fake picture perfect world where no one ever die and everyone loves one another, the best way to nurture children is to show them the right way to handle all these negative factors in life so that they will know how to handle it when they grow up to be adults. To hide all violence is not as effective as to show how them how to identify right from wrong. Hence, sometimes they have to be exposed to some “wrong” things in order to know there’s a difference.

  4. What would bug me more than the men fighting in their underwear would be the TV itself.

    Moving images with sound grab our monkey brains and drive out all other thought. I won’t eat in a restaurant where I can’t escape the TV.

    Even though I like the blue-island-in-a-red-state aspects of Austin culture, I do think some establishments could be a little wiser about what they expose kids to. I’m thinking, for instance, of I Love Video, which puts Star Trek and the Simpsons in the back room just a few feet away from the pr0n. On the other hand I know that if I take the kids into Vulcan or I Love Video, they may hear a few F-words from the store TV and that’s a chance I’m willing to take.

  5. > Austin is obviously both liberal and raw (that’s a texas thing).

    I don’t think Austin can be labeled in that manner. Austin is a very diverse city, which adds to its appeal. Austin is a great party town for people who like to party, and it’s also a kid friendly town for families.

    It’s great for golfers, fishermen, musicians, boaters, gays, retirees, immigrants, church goers, pot heads, pizza drivers, professors, slackers, hikers, bikers, republicans, democrats, atheists, and all people in between – including Leslie.

    I can’t imagine any kind of person or lifestyle that can’t find a place in Austin. It’s a very big tent with an even bigger welcome mat.

    What I’m saying is that the kid friendly aspects that make Austin a great family town ought not let other elements bleed in and erode the kid friendliness of Austin.

    I have nothing against men who want to put on Speedos and beat each other up. But I don’t expect to see it on TV in Green Mesquite when I go there to eat with my kids. If nothing else, it just a stupid business decision to have that junk on the TV in a place promoted as “kid friendly” in all the restaurant guides.

    > I think instead of shielding children from the world of reality …

    I find little, if anything presented in media to be representative of reality. Quite the opposite, in my humble opinion. Kids will have their entire adult lives to suffer or enjoy, whichever it may be, all that American media culture has to offer. Postponing exposure to media violence won’t cause a kid any loss of aptitude or social grace, I’m certain of it.

  6. Trust me, I came from Utah, Austin is indeed LIBERAL. Even the diversity nature itself is suggesting its liberal tendancy. Liberalism = Heterogeneious Culture. Conservatism = Homogeneous Culture.

    I didn’t say that TV and video games are reality. The reality is that we are in a society where violence is visible everywhere.

    I have never been to that Green Mesquite restaurant, but I can imagine it be just another Tex-mex restaurant in Austin with a bar. If that’s the case, I don’t think you can call it “children friendly”. They are just a place to eat with all kinds of people there (golfers, fishermen, musicians, boaters, gays, retirees, immigrants, church goers, pot heads, pizza drivers, professors, slackers, hikers, bikers, republicans, democrats, atheists…) And some of these people wanted to watch WWF or American Idol or World Cut on TV while they are eating or drinking.

  7. Hi Bill,

    > The reality is that we are in a society where violence is visible everywhere.

    Hmmm, that’s not the Austin I know, or my kids. The only violence I ever see is on TV in public places, video games in public places, TV news, and the movies.

    I haven’t personally seen a real fight, or an assault of any kind since Willie’s 4th of July Farm Aid concert at Manor Downs in Austin in 1986. Two drunk bikers were fighting in a mud hole. I rarely even see rude behavior in Austin (except when driving), or hear someone raise their voice.

    Violence does exist in the world, as we all know, but I think it’s incorrect to say “violence is visible everywhere”. Not in “real life” Austin it isn’t. Violence in our culture is mainly only ‘visible’ on TV and video games. Without media, your chances of witnessing real and actual violence in life are pretty slim.

  8. As a business owner, the best customer is one who raises an issue. The nightmare for a business owner is for people to just stop patronizing the business without ever telling you why.

    Steve isn’t forcing his views on anyone, the business has the option to ignore steve. But at the very least by raising their awareness, steve is allowing them to make a more informed decision.


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