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Jan 26, 2014 10:01 PM

Galatoires - dinner Ash Wednesday

Hi, we are coming to New Orleans to celebrate my mother's 80th birthday. We are arriving after Mardi Gras, on Ash Wednesday (seems like an odd time to come but my son is on break from Tulane that week and I don't think my parents could handle the excitement of Mardi Gras). We have reservations for brunch at CP on Saturday, for the true birthday party, but we want to try some other New Orleans classics while we are in town.

i would like to take them to Galatoire's, and know they would prefer the downstairs experience to upstairs. i plan to make a reservation when they open for that date, just in case, but I am not sure what to do. The parents cannot stand in line, so having a reservation has its appeal, but then we miss out on the downstairs dining experience. I guess my first question is, does it make a big difference at Wednesday night dinner, as opposed to a lunch? And if so, does anyone have any suggestions on how to manage the old people while waiting in line? would we be better off on the later side, say 8:00, for a shorter wait?

i read in another post that you can tell them you have a reservation upstairs and they will see if they have a table downstairs, but I don't want to rely on that. Seems like if that were the case, everyone would be doing it.


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  1. Send your son to wait online, starting about 10:30. Ash Wednesday is a fairly big day in there with the After Action reports being filed from Mardi Gras. It is always a busy day and is one of my favorites. It is one of the very few weekdays of the year where I will have hard liquor for lunch since I am always judicious on Mardi Gras itself. When the hungover and now-abstemious see a martini carried glimmering through the dining room they turn all shades of green. It is great fun and not entirely malicious: some of them learn to trim sail from the experience.

    It is also fun to watch the waiters come back from Mass with the black dots.

    Dinner will have calmed down a great deal.

    1. Thank you for the helpful information! Unfortunately we would not be able to go for lunch. Rather, we are choosing between dinner upstairs with a reservation, or dinner downstairs, whether there would be such a big difference at night. If so, how to avoid my parents having to wait in line. Would having a reservation be helpful in swapping it for a table downstairs? How crowded will it be at night? if we are wanting to eat dinner at around 8:00, would there still be a long line, and if so what time to get in it? thank you!

      3 Replies
      1. re: sparkette

        Lunch is the big show on the Wednesday. For dinner it should be busy not not as packed BUT you also encounter people who have stayed thru Mardi Gras and now want to try some places they could not get to before..and that is Galatoire's first day open after the previous Friday (usually, anyway). But for dinner just switch the plan and send your son down there about 4:30 to claim a table downstairs..or 5:00...should be easy. I might still be packed from lunch but usually it turns into a normal day by about 3;30. He can just tell them he is holding a dinner table and read a book and drink iced tea for an hour--done all the time.

        1. re: sparkette

          I forgot to mention that they have the new bar next door so it would be possible to wait in there prior to a table opening up...or you might be able to wait upstairs at the "new" bar in the restaurant itself,. There is an elevator at the back behind the desk.

          1. re: sparkette

            The last three times that we had reservations for upstairs we were seated downstairs. As hazelhurst stated, waiting next door at the bar for a table to open downstairs might be an option as well.