CHICAGO — Several parents are demanding an apology from a Little Village restaurant after they claimed their children were served alcohol during a birthday party.
About 10 p.m. Tuesday, police and ambulances were called to Home Run Inn, 4254 W. 31st St., after a waitress accidentally served alcohol to a table of children, authorities said.
The Chicago Fire Department took 10 kids to Mount Sinai and Stroger hospitals in good condition about 10:15 p.m., according to a fire department spokesman.
None of the children taken to hospitals tested positive for alcohol in their systems, according to police sources.
But Elaina Turner, the mother of seven of the children taken to the hospital, said doctors told her a certain amount of alcohol would not show up on tests.
Turner said family and friends, including 18 children, had gone to the restaurant Tuesday to celebrate a birthday. She said a waitress served the children, who were seated at a separate table, what they believed was fruit punch. But as Turner helped her 1-year-old son eat, she smelled a strong scent of alcohol.
"I gave my baby his cup, and he had drunk about half his cup already ... and I start smelling like 'Why am I smelling alcohol?'" she said. "For it to catch my nose ... the smell, you can't miss it."
Turner took a sip from her son's cup and tasted alcohol in the drink, she said. As she realized what she was drinking, Turner said she saw two servers quickly clearing the cups from the children's table. She claims a server told her it was because the "drinks were watered down."
Servers told parents there was no alcohol in the cups, but Turner called police and the fire department after she said the children complained they felt sick. Ten of the 18 children were taken to the hospital.
Authorities told a different story Wednesday.
According to a police report, a waitress at Home Run accidentally served one child alcohol Tuesday night. She had brought multiple drinks to the children's table and realized she was one short.
When the waitress went back to get the last drink, the report said, she accidentally picked up something with alcohol in it. A child took a sip of the alcohol and instantly spit it out, police said, alerting parents and staff to the mistake.
Police were called to the scene, at which point, multiple parents and guardians requested medical attention for the kids, police said. Preliminary reports did suggest multiple children drank alcohol.
Turner said Wednesday she was upset at how the restaurant handled the situation. She claims one server "was visibly upset," but no one from the restaurant apologized. Turner said she was particularly offended that servers tried to take away the children's drinks without telling parents what happened.
"It could have possibly been an accident, but you're trying to cover up the situation," Turner said. "I'd like to admit the wrongdoing and at least apologize.
"It's like no remorse for the children," she said. "I'm pretty sure if it was in a different setting, with different kids and different people, the outcome would be way different."
An employee at the Home Run Inn's corporate office said the pizza chain was aware of the incident and was conducting an internal investigation. The company planned to release a statement later Wednesday.