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Lineup restaurants


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What are your favourite restaurants that don't take reservations but are almost always worth an hour or more wait?

Mine, in no particular order are:

Frontera Grill - Rick Bayless' homage to classic Mexican cooking in Chicago which never seems to have less than an hour and a half wait. (This based on a couple of visits in the last year or so).

Pizzeria Bianco - Chris Bianco's excellent pizza restaurant in Phoenix where the lineups start at 4:00 pm in the hot sun for dinner seatings.

Vij's - Stylish Indian cuisine in Vancouver B.C. that always has a lineup rain or shine.

There must be at least one in every city, what's yours?

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Used to be Montgomery Inn in Cincinnati -- before it got all Hollywood on us. The two-hour wait was as much fun as the meal itself.

A place in Mendham, NJ, called (I think) Benjamin's? It's a steakhouse. Same deal as with the Montgomery Inn.

In both cases here, I'm dating myself: Haven't lived in Cincinnati since 1988 and left North Jersey in 1998.

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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  • 4 months later...

Walker Brothers Pancake House in Wilmette, IL.

ETA: You only have to stand in line if you want to go on a weekend morning, but darn it, that's usually when I want to go to a pancake house.

Edited by munchymom (log)

"There is nothing like a good tomato sandwich now and then."

-Harriet M. Welsch

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I'm sorry but dI on't think any restaurant is worth waiting an hour for. In NYC, at least, there are so many good options for food that don't have the hype and crowds but have the food-waiting an hour is pointless.

Edited by nypork (log)
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There is a seasonal local hamburger joint in my area called Jumping Jacks located in Scotia, NY. Once heard it was the top grossing restaurant in the Capital District.

It recently opened for the season last week with all the local radio and TV stations giving it full attention.

I don't get it and never will! :blink: Totally mediocre food that's not even a step up from any other fast food chain. The only explanation I see, is that it's been around for generation's and people hold it dear to their hearts for sentimental reasons.

Which I guess I can understand.

Robert R

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There are thankfully very few places in Philly that one needs to consistently wait in lines for, except for brunch on Sunday, in which case, I'll happily join the cue at the Morning Glory or Carman's.

There are several no-reservations places I frequent, but it ends up being more of a milling-around hoping to pounce on a table thing, rather than a long line out the door.

I do end up willingly in those lines in NYC though:

Momofuku in Manhattan

Una Pizza Napolitana in Manhttan

DiFara in Brooklyn

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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There are very few places I'll wait for. My neighborhood standby Dmitri's (the 3rd & Catharine locale) doesn't take reservations and never has. But they'll either give me glassware so I can enjoy the wine I've brought or I'll wait across the street at the New Wave Cafe and they'll come get me when my table is ready. More often than not I just go on nights it isn't as busy or I go later in the evening and end up being the last one out of there, as I was a few Sunday nights ago.

I'll happily line up for pizza at DiFara's along with philadining or DeLorenzo's in Trenton. The wait isn't usually too long and well worth it.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Most walk-in restaurants can be gamed such that you don't have to wait. You just need to figure out the ebb and flow of the place. Needless to say, immediately upon opening is usually a good bet -- I've probably dined at Nobu Next Door in New York a dozen times this way and not waited for a minute. There's also usually a point later in the evening when most places slow down.

I wouldn't want every restaurant to have a walk-in-only policy, but I think the world of dining is richer when a few really good places offer the option.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I've done the Pizzaria Bianco tango for 90 minutes.... great experience and worth it do to at least once.

Santa Fe has one of these critters, too: Cafe Pasqual's. I have NOT done this wait, as the times I was there I was hungry NOW, and also have had rather chilly reception from the front-desk person.

Finally, I've stood under a warm sun for 90 minutes for The Griddle. In a sense this was my group's fault - we went at 11 a.m. on a Saturday. Yep. However, watching the glitterati wannabes and the maitre'gay dude flit around keeping everyone happy was very fascinating. So, it was worth it. And those pancakes, holy crap! :wub:

So, some are worth it for the ancillary experiences, especially if you do not arrive completely famished.

Andrea

in Albuquerque

"You can't taste the beauty and energy of the Earth in a Twinkie." - Astrid Alauda

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Food Lovers' Guide to Santa Fe, Albuquerque & Taos: OMG I wrote a book. Woo!

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I'm sorry but dI on't think any restaurant is worth waiting an hour for. In NYC, at least, there are so many good options for food that don't have the hype and crowds but have the food-waiting an hour is pointless.

Waiting an hour at the bar, savoring an ice cold Negroni, Manhattan, or Martinez, antisapating a decadant, sumptious epicurian adventure? No!!! Please not in the briar patch!!!

I think that if customers honored thier reservations more, more small resturants would take them. Customer service should be spent on customers who deserve it.

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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Most walk-in restaurants can be gamed such that you don't have to wait. You just need to figure out the ebb and flow of the place. Needless to say, immediately upon opening is usually a good bet -- I've probably dined at Nobu Next Door in New York a dozen times this way and not waited for a minute. There's also usually a point later in the evening when most places slow down.

I wouldn't want every restaurant to have a walk-in-only policy, but I think the world of dining is richer when a few really good places offer the option.

I think this is the rub. I'm willing to eat at no reservation places, but I pick and choose my timing.

Joss cafe and sushi bar in Annapolis, MD is one of our perennial favorites. We just don't try to go between 7:30 and 9:00 PM on weekends, or Wednesday - Friday when the legislature is in session.

We also enjoy Joe's Stone Crab in Miami, but we always go at 5:00 PM when they open and walk right in. By the time we leave at 7:00 or so, there's hundreds of people waiting. We just plan our day in South Beach around an early dinner.

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Used to be Montgomery Inn in Cincinnati -- before it got all Hollywood on us.  The two-hour wait was as much fun as the meal itself. 

A place in Mendham, NJ, called (I think) Benjamin's?  It's a steakhouse.  Same deal as with the Montgomery Inn.

In both cases here, I'm dating myself:  Haven't lived in Cincinnati since 1988 and left North Jersey in 1998.

I think you mean Sammy's in Mendham.

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