Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Minneapolis-St. Paul >
Jun 19, 2011 03:26 PM

Travail: Still Crazy Busy??

Hi, been meaning to check out some of the new places that are enjoyable for foodies but more casual, like Travail and Tilia. Tilia is crazy busy and feels like Travail when it was new last year. Has Travail calmed down at all? Is it still worth checking out or would you recommend Tilia (or something else)?
Thanks :)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Near as I can tell, Travail is still packing it in. Tried to go to Tilia last night. 75 minute wait for a two-top at 8:30p. I'm inclined to bow out of the "no reservations" trend.

    1. We went last night, figuring that the rain might slow the traffic. We got there 10 minutes after they opened for dinner, and got the last three places at the counter. The place was packed. Still, completely worth it.

      1. Last time I was at Travail was a Wednesday night a few weeks back. A little after 8 and the only available seating were 2 spots at the end of the bar.

        They're still on fire, as far as I can tell. Food quality is still there as well.

        3 Replies
        1. re: BigE

          The regularly full house at Travail reminds me of what Yogi Berra once said about a St. Louis restaurant he used to frequent: "Nobody goes there any more; it's too crowded."

          1. re: djtrouten

            It does fall into that trap, for me. I love that place and love BS'ing with the crew, but I feel like I shouldn't be bothering them when they're absolutely slammed (99% of the time).

            1. re: BigE

              I went on a Friday for lunch back in May. So nice to get to talk to the guys without them running ragged. But I guess as a business owner in the restaurant biz, the best problem to have is too busy.

        2. We went on Tuesday for our anniversary. There were several tables (regular in front, at the bar, and high tops in back) left in the middle of a pouring rainstorm at 6, but before 7 they were gone and by 7:30 there were a good 10 names on the wait list.

          I think part of the issue is that the meal takes some time, especially if you're doing the tasting. Our meal was lovely, but we were there for 3 hours, which normally would turn the table 3x, and everyone around us was similar. Doing simple math, I would bet no more than 3 tables turn an hour, which means the end of that wait list was looking at a 10/10:30 seating.

          7 Replies
          1. re: bethanyg

            To which, any restaurant that takes three hours to turn a table should take reservations. How does waiting over an hour for a table NOT diminish the dining experience? How does programme benefit the consumer?

            1. re: kevin47

              This is a big factor in my asking the question, as I don't want to have an anniversary/babysitter night drag because of too long a wait.

              1. re: dahlsk

                Have you tried the new Heidi's? Service there is an absolute machine these days.

                1. re: kevin47

                  Have not forgiven Heidi's since (at old location) forced to wait 40 minutes for a confirmed reservation in the old space, then promptly "turned invisible" — waiter brought us drinks, then did not take order for 30 mins and we were not served until almost 90 minutes later. We even called to find out what had happened, and Heidi promised to get back to us — but never did. Obviously, they don't need us as customers.

                  1. re: bethanyg

                    Not to get too off tangent, but had a fantastic experience at the new Heidi's in May, service was spot on. Just looking for a more casual experience this time out...

                    1. re: bethanyg

                      Wow, that sucks. I had a great meal at Heidi's a month ago, but I agree that the service was a tad lacking. Our dinner was early so when there were only 2-3 tables occupied the service was very attentive. But once the place filled up, it was hard to get our waitresses attention. I know we stayed there at least an extra 30 minutes because we were waiting to pay our bill.

                      1. re: galewskj

                        Since no one has posted it, here is the link.

                        4154 West Broadway, Robbinsdale, MN 55422

            2. FYI - Travail is closed until August for summer "break". Quite a luxury for a restaurant to be able to do so but i guess that is a benefit of their success. Still my favorite restaurant in MSP.

              3 Replies
              1. re: rmitchel5

                Just made it there on Saturday. I'm disappointed they're closed. I'd like to go back this weekend ;) Fantastic place.

                1. re: shadowfax

                  Lunch or dinner? I was there with my mom for lunch.

                  1. re: semanticantics

                    Dinner. The tasting menu for 2. Nothing overly exotic on it this time (but that's to be expected - I doubt they felt like buying expensive stuff and then having it sit in the cooler for a month), but everything was inventive and interesting. The pork tenderloin was slightly over-salty, and the braised baby octopi were a little ho-hum, but other than that, everything was fantastic.