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Last Minute Visit - Ruxbin/Schwa Possible?

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Hi Chicagoland,

I'm heading into town with friends, from Toronto this weekend. We haven't made any dinner reservations so we need tips for walking in.

We need to eat late on Saturday, if we show up at Ruxbin at 10pm what are the chances of getting a table? Is it a lost cause?

Also, can we walk in at Schwa or is it reservation only?

Any other recommendations are welcome

Thanks!

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  1. In addition to the info above, we will be staying in River North area, but will be at a play at Steppenwolf on Saturaday night.

    1. >> I'm heading into town with friends, from Toronto this weekend. We haven't made any dinner reservations so we need tips for walking in.

      Would it be possible for you to make reservations now? It's really not that hard to get reservations at most of the restaurants here. Saturday night reservations on the late side (10:00 for places that seat that late) are easy to come by, for places that are open that late. Right now, many of our best restaurants currently show availability on Opentable.com for a 10:00 seating for two this Saturday, including: Balsan (Mediterranean), Blackbird (contemporary American), Boka (contemporary American), Carnivale (Latin fusion), Coco Pazzo (Italian), Deleece on Southport (contemporary American), the Florentine (Italian), Graham Elliot (contemporary American), Le Colonial (Vietnamese), Mercat a la Planxa (tapas), Mexique (contemporary American), MK (contemporary American), Nacional 27 (Latin fusion), Naha (contemporary American), Nightwood (contemporary American), Perennial Virant (contemporary American), Quartino (Italian small plates), Sable (contemporary American), Shanghai Terrace (upscale Chinese), Shaw's Crab House (seafood), Spiaggia (Italian fine dining), TRU (fine dining), and Vivere (contemporary Italian).

      You can also make reservations at the last minute. (The easiest way to do so is on Opentable.com where you can see availability of many restaurants with a few taps on the keyboard. If you don't have internet access while you're here, the concierge at your hotel can make a reservation for you.) Having a reservation is MUCH better than traveling all the way to a place, only to find that there's a two-hour wait. (If you decide to risk it anywhere, I strongly recommend at least calling ahead to find out how long the wait is.)

      >> We need to eat late on Saturday, if we show up at Ruxbin at 10pm what are the chances of getting a table? Is it a lost cause?

      The Tribune did a spread on the typical wait times at the "always crowded" places around town; for Ruxbin, it says "Peak wait: 2 hours between 6:30 and 7:45 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays; Least wait: No wait at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday and Tuesday". http://chicago.metromix.com/restauran...

      >> Also, can we walk in at Schwa or is it reservation only?

      It's reservation only, and not even that (they often cancel reservations at the last minute).

      >> In addition to the info above, we will be staying in River North area, but will be at a play at Steppenwolf on Saturaday night.

      Many of the places listed above are in or near River North. Boka is only a block from the Steppenwolf, and it's excellent. Walking a block from the theater to a great restaurant where you have a reservation seems like a much better solution than having to travel a couple miles to a restaurant where you don't have a reservation and might have to wait a long time to be seated.

      I'll make sure the places mentioned above all appear on the map to your right.

      -----
      Blackbird Restaurant
      619 W. Randolph, Chicago, IL 60606

      Boka
      1729 North Halsted, Chicago, IL 60614

      Tru Restaurant
      676 North Saint Clair, Chicago, IL 60611

      Quartino
      626 N. State Street, Chicago, IL 60654

      Nacional 27
      325 W. Huron, Chicago, IL 60610

      Shanghai Terrace
      108 E Superior, Chicago, IL 60611

      Mercat a la Planxa
      638 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605

      Le Colonial
      937 Rush Street, Chicago, IL 60611

      Perennial Virant
      1800 N Lincoln, Chicago, IL 60614

      Coco Pazzo Cafe
      636 N St Clair, Chicago, IL 60611

      Mexique
      1529 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

      Shaw's Crab House
      21 East Hubbard St., Chicago, IL 60611

      Deleece Restaurant (on Southport
      )3747 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago, IL 60657

      Vivere
      71 W Monroe Street, Chicago, IL 60603

      Spiaggia
      980 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

      Naha
      500 North Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

      Carnivale
      702 West Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60661

      Graham Elliot
      217 W. Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60654

      Sable Kitchen & Bar
      505 North State Street, Chicago, IL 60654

      The Florentine
      151 W. Adams, Chicago, IL 60601

      Nightwood
      2119 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60608

      MK
      868 N. Franklin, Chicago, IL 60610

      Balsan
      11 E Walton St, Chicago, IL 60610

      1. As far as Ruxbin, they close at 10pm on Saturdays. I would hazard a guess that that means that the last seating is at 10pm but they're busy enough that they probably stop taking names earlier in the evening. I stopped in a few weeks ago around 6:45 on a Saturday -- for a party of 2, they did not anticipate a table being available until 9:30. It's also worth noting that they limit parties to 4 or fewer on Saturdays (and Fridays -- 6 or fewer other nights).

        1. Boka is a good higher end choice in the neighborhood, but if you can't get in and want lighter (and cheaper) fare Sono Wood-fired is a couple blocks down from Steppenwolf. I don't know what kind of crowds it draws late on Saturday, but we've never had trouble walking in in the early evening on a weekend. Moreover, if you are indeed a fan of salami, they have an excellent charcuterie opener. Good wine list (for a pizzeria) too:

          http://sonowoodfired.com/

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          Boka
          1729 North Halsted, Chicago, IL 60614

          1 Reply
          1. re: jbw

            >> Boka is a good higher end choice in the neighborhood, but if you can't get in

            As I noted above when I recommended it above, reservations for Boka are available for the times after your show this coming Saturday night. Make one now and you won't have to worry about getting in! www.bokachicago.com

            -----
            Sono Wood Fired
            1582 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60642