Saturday, December 20, 2014

Expecting to snag a last-minute restaurant table?

So you think you're going to waltz into a hot restaurant tonight or tomorrow and score a table because some Nervous Nelly from Northampton got scared of driving.

Expecting to snag a last-minute restaurant table?

Table setting at Fond, 1537 S. 11th St., Philadelphia, March 8, 2013.  ( DAVID M WARREN / Staff Photographer )
Table setting at Fond, 1537 S. 11th St., Philadelphia, March 8, 2013. ( DAVID M WARREN / Staff Photographer )

You've seen the snow and read Craig LaBan's article about the beating that local restaurants have taken this week during what is one of the busier weeks of the year

So you think you're going to waltz into a hot restaurant tonight or tomorrow and score a table because some Nervous Nelly from Northampton got scared of driving.

Sure you will, Romeo.

This is Valentine's Day. I asked a few of the harder-to-book spots, and all seem to be full, with waiting lists.

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"We expect an influx of reservations added once people see the roads are passable," says Barren Hill Tavern & Brewery owner Erin Wallace. "Tomorrow we have even more on the books than we do tonight, but we're starting out strong."

Speaking of road conditions, South Street Headhouse District has directly cleared out parking spaces along South Street and Second Street Plaza.

A few tips:

1. Browse OpenTable, but don't consider it gospel. You can get on a waiting list or even perhaps cinch a res by actually picking up the phone now.

2. Call late in the day and be willing to go on standby. Do not, however, book tables at more than one restaurant and wait till the last minute to decide - or even worse, not show up.

3. Go at odd hours. Paradiso on East Passyunk Avenue will seat you at 5 and 10 p.m., for instance. The Farm and Fisherman Tavern in Cherry Hill will seat you at 5 p.m. or 9 p.m. The Saint James in Ardmore has 5 p.m. open.

4. Try the bar. Greg Vernick of the white-hot Vernick says they'll take walk-ins there. Pub and Kitchen is having an '80s-prom style party, with no res needed. King and Queen crowned at the end of the night., with the \winner getting a $200 bar tab.

5. Think downscale. Nothing says love more than two Shorties from Wawa in your family room while the kids fight over the TV.

Then again, you may get lucky. Lee Styer at Fond on East Passyunk has two openings tonight.

At least as of five minutes before I wrote this.

Michael Klein Philly.com
About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of philly.com/Food, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here. Reach Michael at mklein@philly.com.

Michael Klein Philly.com
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