Four days after a Portland diner owner and a tourist drew national media attention for their squabble over a loud child, the sniping, name-calling and online bickering continued Wednesday.

For the first time, the mother of the 21-month-old child spoke out publicly, writing a post on about how her toddler’s crying and fussy behavior drew the ire of Marcy’s Diner owner Darla Neugebauer.

Tara Carson of New York City wrote on the website that she, her husband and their daughter waited 30 minutes for a table Saturday morning and then 40 minutes for their food to arrive before Marcy’s owner threatened to kick the family out mid-meal if they didn’t remove the little girl.

“When the food came, my daughter was still fussing. My husband and I decided that we would eat our food quickly then leave,” Carson wrote. “Out of nowhere, Marcy’s Diner owner Darla Neugebauer threw to-go containers at my husband and yelled, ‘Either she goes or you go!’ ”

On Wednesday, Neugebauer said that she was unaware of Carson’s online piece, but earlier in the day she included a healthy side of fresh invective in a Facebook posting of the restaurant’s daily specials.

“Who knew calling out (expletive) parenting made you a bully? Whatever,” Neugebauer wrote. “The only thing I am sorry for is that child has to grow up with such terrible parents.”


The City of Portland also weighed in on Wednesday, saying it plans to inspect Marcy’s next week because it has been sent images that purport to depict a Facebook message exchange between the restaurant and an unnamed person, in which the restaurant threatened to spit in the food of patrons who brought kids.

Neugebauer denied that she posted the message, and it could not be determined if it was real or fake.

Marcy’s passed an inspection at the end of June, and passed both of its last two annual inspections, Portland spokeswoman Jessica Grondin said.


In an interview later Wednesday afternoon, Neugebauer elaborated on her pipe-down-or-get-out philosophy.

“I think what everyone is forgetting, it’s my restaurant, my rules,” she said from behind a hot grill. “If you don’t want to play by the rules, I’ll happily call Portland PD to escort your (expletive) out. … If it seems like I’m getting a little pissed off, it’s because I am.


“It’s something we’ve all dealt with in the restaurant business before,” she said. “But no one’s had the berries to just do it. Well, kudos to me, because I’ve got the berries.”

The feud has not cooled on Facebook and has spilled onto several national media Web pages, most recently the Washington Post.

“Making national news was the last thing we expected on our quiet summer getaway to Maine this week,” Tara Carson wrote in her online Post column.

“What got lost is that it’s never OK to yell at a baby, especially if you own a restaurant. You should care about providing good service to their patrons. Neugebauer could have come over politely and told us our baby was disruptive. She should not have thrown things or yelled or cursed.”

The incident has sparked a torrent of social media criticism aimed at pretty much everyone involved. It also has generated plenty of support for the diner owner and her salty language.

Neugebauer’s post on Marcy’s Facebook page Wednesday morning had accumulated more than 14,000 “likes” and more than 4,000 comments by that afternoon.



Others have made it clear they support the mom and her child.

One businessman, Jess Knox, who founded Maine Startup and Create Week, even invited Carson and her husband back to Portland in a Facebook posting, offering to take them out to breakfast.

In another development Wednesday, a Facebook group calling itself Mama and Baby Protest at Marcy’s said it is planning a protest at the diner on Sunday from 7-10 a.m. As of Thursday morning the Facebook page had been removed.

“Bring your babies and protest this ladies awful antics! After what I’ve seen this afternoon, I would starve before eating her food. But we can make sure to let her know our thoughts on her attitude!” one post said.

Neugebauer was taking it in stride.


“That’s totally OK with me. Bring cash,” she told WGME TV.

Amid the myriad of Facebook comments, both for and against Neugebauer’s brash style, some people began reposting the image of the purported Facebook message exchange between the restaurant and an unnamed person involving the threat to spit in the food of patrons who brought kids.

The city confirmed that it had been sent the same screen-captured exchange and at least one other. Because the complaints of a potential violation were coming from people out of state, and because Marcy’s has a spotless health record, city officials are taking the accusations with a grain of salt and will inspect the diner next week.

“They’re using their discretion about what’s being alleged and who it’s coming from,” said Grondin, the city spokeswoman. “(The health department is) going to go next week and do an inspection.”


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