It’s Brass Knuckles Time at Chuck E. Cheese’s

The mood at America’s various Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurants has turned positively gangster. That’s the word from the Wall Street Journal, which reports on incidents including a fight at a Toledo, Ohio location of the family fun entertainment center: “One woman removed the red rope that marks the entrance queue and handed it to another woman, who swung the metal clip attached to it at others involved in the incident,” writes the Journal.

Restaurants in Kansas, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin have also seen trouble, including a bench-clearing melee that involved as many as 85 people in Flint, MI.

A Milwaukee public official puts the whole situation into perspective: “To appeal to adults, about 70 percent of the chain’s locations serve wine and beer. Some city officials have pinpointed that as the main cause of the fighting. Milwaukee Alderman Tony Zielinski called for the removal of Chuck E. Cheese’s beer-and-wine license in 2006 after he received police notification and complaints from constituents about fighting there. The company stationed armed security guards inside the restaurant in an effort to make it safer. ‘It was like something out of a Quentin Tarantino film,’ says Mr. Zielinski, referring to the Pulp Fiction director. ‘What parent is going to take their kids to a place where there is alcohol and pistols being brandished?’”

Probably the type of parent who would throw punches because another person’s child was taking too long at the portrait-drawing machine, an incident that touched off the 10-person brawl in Toledo.

Kudos to the Journal for providing the comprehensive national rundown on the trend, which is pronounced enough to warrant its own six-item blotter.