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Would you wait 2 hours for a table at a restaurant?

Yesterday afternoon (Saturday) we went to run some errands and decided to stop at a fairly new restaurant (open over a month) in the adjacent smaller town next to ours. We had our 5 yr old in tow so we decided 4:30pm was early but a good time to eat. So I walk in and it's like I walked into what I expect to see in a 3rd world country. kids running everywhere. People sitting on the ground! Yes, the ground! People just swarming all over the place. A mom crouched down with wine in one hand bottle feeding her baby with the other and two kids climbing on her back. It was so nuts if I saw a herd of goats walk by I wouldn't have been surprised.

So once I fight my way to the host stand I find out the wait is 1.5 hrs. She says maybe 2. So I ask if it's always like this and she said "wait until it's really dinner time. It's usually over a 2 hr wait!" We declined and decided the chaos wasn't worth it so we drove away. The town is pretty small so not much to do in the way of killing time somewhere else.

I guess the food is pretty decent. Comfort food like chicken and mac and cheese. Plates ranging from $7-28 and the interior is cute in this throwback style kind of like Houstons or the Hillstone restaurants.

Would you wait 1-2 hrs to get a table? I have a 20 min or less policy. I can't believe all these people were willing to wait for such a long time!

Are there restaurants in your area that have super long wait times? Have you made it thru the wait? Is the food worth it?

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  1. Two hour wait? With kids everywhere? For lame food?

    Are you kidding? I wouldn't wait for that kind of food, in that kind of setting, if it was free. Sh*t, they'd have to pay me to wait five minutes and my first drink better be free! I don't think I'd ever even contemplate going there, but if I ever mentioned that the thought crossed my mind, Mrs. Z would probably slap me.

    1. No I would not. I also would not stay to have a meal where in a restaurant where there is so much chaos.

      1. Franklin BBQ, yes.
        What you describe? Not in a million years. Actually can't really think of any other place I would wait that long for a meal. Franklin only because it is a pilgrimage and you know what you're getting into and can mentally prepare in advance.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Veggo

          We waited for over 2 hours at Joe's, when my husband went to chat with the "Seater person" the manager happened to be there and was appalled we had been waiting for over 2 hours. Gave us a free round of drinks and we were seated 10 minutes later. But prior, we were getting pretty good at real vs fake. And the meal was totally worth the wait. Totally changed some food perceptions (i.e. mustard is evil) it's not when used subtly.

          But the OP's situation, keep on walking, apple bees will seem peaceful

        2. There's one place I could think of that doesn't take reservations, it's about 15 minutes away. I would never take my kid there because its just asking for disaster. I can't expect a 3yo to wait for an hour or more, then sit down for a whole meal.

          1. Absolutely not. And double absolutely with a young child.

            1. No.

              Most restaurants tend to have long wait times near me, and most are crappy chains. There's a few mexican places that are good and don't have wait times. But otherwise, there's not a lot to choose from out here so that's why there's long wait times on what's available. That's why we don't eat out very often.

              1. In my area, waiting for over an hour on a weekend evening at prime dinner hours is not at all in common. Not meaning to dredge up another topic, many of the smaller chef driven places don't take reservations or only accept them in limited circumstances so waiting is what you have to do. Last night the wife and I went out for dinner. We went to 4 places each of which told us the wait was 1 to 1.5 hours. Since it was quite cold, I was not in the mood for waiting so we went to a fifth place where we were able to get a table quickly. The hostess said we were lucky with our timing as they had been jammed just a little while before. Ironically it was probably an hour from the time we went to the first place so we would have ended up eating at the same time if we had stayed at that first spot. But wait for what you have described with a five year old? NFW. But if the food and place is right, sure I will wait.

                1. Nope, I won't wait more than a few minutes in any restaurant, and that includes when I have a reservation, or walk in.

                  As for the place you mentioned, I would have bounced within seconds of seeing that mayhem.

                  1. Yes.

                    And I have.

                    Pizzeria Bianco when Chris was still behind the oven and before the expansion.

                    I take that back. I lied.

                    The wait was closer to 3 hours.

                    I would've waited 4 if needed. And happily.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Yes, but you could go next door to Bar Bianco and have a great glass of wine while waiting.

                      Back to the topic in general, waiting seems to be a big thing in the SF Bay Area, especially for breakfast and brunch. I don't have much patience for it and probably the only place I will wait for is Pizetta 211.

                      Someone on the SF board recently posted that people were hiring from the Task Rabbit website to have someone stand in line for them at the new trendy places.

                      1. re: pamf

                        there is no place on the planet that puts out food ethereal enough to PAY someone to WAIT IN LINE. (caps for emphasis, not for shouting)

                        I figure if there's a two-hour wait, they surely don't need my business, there will be someone hovering to ensure that I inhale the food and ship out so someone else can have my table, and I'm certainly not going to pay for the privilege of standing in line for a restaurant that can't manage their own dining room.

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          do you think it's a lack of good dining room management or do they do it for they hype?

                          1. re: trolley

                            the scene described by the OP of utter chaos would indicate an utter lack of anything even resembling FOH management.

                        2. re: pamf

                          yes, I remember in SF it was a big thing. In LA I used to live down the street from a breakfast place that was always 1 hr wait. But I didn't have a child back then.

                          1. re: trolley

                            I can't remember ever waiting long in SF, but I only go places I can get a reservation, and there are plenty of those.

                            If my family (adult children) had their way, we might wait for breakfast, but they don't so we don't. I am not a morning person, and not a breakfast person, so standing in line for breakfast would be TORTURE! I'd rather just cook it myself, but only a few times a year.

                            I WOULD pay someone to wait in line for breakfast, because I have denied my family the pleasure of my company at breakfast for decades, and I think they would really like it.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            I wouldn't and didn't do it for Pizzeria Bianco. I love pizza, and know the score at PB, but there is no place I would voluntarily wait 2 hours for (3 is std for PB, by design) if I was not starving and had other options. I don't drink on an empty stomach.

                            My usual rule is no more than 20 minutes. (And I don't bother with no-reservation places except near opening. Maybe. Long waits turn Good Eats into Very Bad Eats. )

                            1. re: Karl S

                              I got really lucky at Pizzeria Bianco the one and only time I've been. I was in Phoenix on business and half my co-workers that I was traveling with had a client dinner that night, and the other half (all males) wanted to go to Hooters, so I went to Pizzeria Bianco alone. I'm assuming you know if you've been, but you even have to be seated for a bar seat and it isn't first come first serve like most places. They had one seat at the bar open when I got there, and since everyone else waiting had more than one person in their party, I was able to get seated at it right away.

                          2. If I had a 5-year-old with me, then no. We had a 90-minute wait at a "hot" new place about a year ago but they ushered us into a lounge area where we could order drinks and wait in comfort (it was worth the wait, but I wouldn't necessarily do it again).

                            One of my favorite restaurants has a "no reservations" policy and I walk out if the wait is more than 45 minutes.

                            1. NFW for me, too -- with or without kids, at any time of the day or night.

                              By two hours in, I'd be down at the 7-11, figuring beef jerky and a Slurpee would be a good option.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: sunshine842

                                We have walked out and the Mc Donald's down the street was pretty good after 2 hours.

                              2. I don't think that there is anywhere that I would wait 2 hours to eat at.

                                1. Only if I was very desperate and had no other option to be fed.

                                  Kudos to you for recognizing a ridiculous situation and leaving.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: alwayshungrygal

                                    I have to amend my reply. A few weeks ago I got a flash email about a new restaurant that served Brooklyn-style pizza. Being from Brooklyn, I had to try it, but the resto is 30+ miles away from where I live, but a couple I know lives there. Knowing that they don't take reservations, we decided to go on a Saturday night, and arrived there at about 6:30 ish. The wait was about 1+ hour, so (being there wasn't any room at the small bar) we decided to go across the street to another restaurant to sit at the bar til it was almost time to be seated. In that instance, I doubt we would have gone anywhere else. And obviously, no kids in tow, otherwise I'm sure we wouldn't have ventured there at 6:30 pm on a Saturday night.

                                  2. I won't wait 20 minutes.
                                    Take reservations or lose my business.
                                    I don't understand the attraction of waiting on the beeper in your pocket to get a seat at a chain restaurant.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: sal_acid

                                      This place doesn't take reservations. I wonder why they do this?

                                      1. re: sal_acid

                                        I'm with sal_acid and prefer restaurants that take reservations.

                                        There are so many choices, including cooking at home.

                                      2. I wouldn't. I never have. I never will.

                                        1. No.

                                          Though we've been on the waiting list for the Basement Bistro in Earlton New York for a few years now :)

                                          1. Not if it was the most famous restaurant in the world... my patience limit is 15 minutes! And if there were kids running around everywhere I wouldn't even set foot in the door to find out what the wait WAS, I'd just go elsewhere...

                                              1. Yes if it was peter luger's and I showed up without a reservation.

                                                Otherwise no.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: AdamD

                                                  In my case I drive two hours to get to Peter Luger's. But always have a reservation and a low 3 digit house credit card that has been in the family for three generations.

                                                  If I didn't have that 'in' I'd wait up to one hour, gladly

                                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                                    That card probably gets you a table in less than an hour, even without a reservation!

                                                    1. re: AdamD

                                                      They respect continuing patronage and loyalty. 'Tourists' may get upset when waiting and see another party pushed ahead, but when I am waiting in other restaurants (and have nit made an advance reservation) I understand this is proper procedure.

                                                      Father and grandfather grew up ion Brooklyn and had their business near Luger's/ Probably ate there 3x week for more than 60 years. When I kept a Manhattan office, I was there every Thursday for Lunch and every third Sunday with the family. Now I make the trip about every 6 weeks, generally call and reserve, but if I find myself unexpectedly in NYC, I will phone and say I;m on my way and the wait is never unbearable.

                                                      Long time restaurants understand that patrons like my family keep them going in good times and bad and are entitled to preferential treatment. It is never expected, but always appreciated.
                                                      And in the same vein, there were times when they called and asked if we could release our standing reservation/table so that they might accomodate something/someone special. Not a problem.

                                                2. No, I'd be too hungry at that point to enjoy the meal no matter what it was. The noise level and atmosphere you described during such a wait would probably have me out the door anyway.

                                                  1. It's funny, but you should have seen the lines out the door when Steak n Shake opened in our town last year. DH and I were happily on our way somewhere else whenever we drove by. Downtown there's a great locally owned steakhouse that has no wait at all and delicious burgers.
                                                    Same when Olive Garden opened.
                                                    We could go to the little Italian place downtown, with no wait, and a whole lot better food.
                                                    So, the answer is no. I agree with other posters that 20 minutes would be the most I'd wait. And with little kids, forget it, we can eat at home.
                                                    No matter how good the restaurant's chicken and mac and cheese are supposed to be, there's no way they can be good enough to stand in line for. Or to sit on the floor for.

                                                    1. I would if I was on vacation with nothing but time.The restaurant had a bar with a comfortable place to sit while waiting, and the food and service was superior.

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: emglow101

                                                        emglow - "nothing but time" I dunno, I jealously guard my vacation time. if there's a killer view and good drinks that's one thing, island (or mountain) time is fine, otherwise miserable i/m time is not.

                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                          I'm daydreaming here. On the Amalfi coast the sun is going down on a warm summer eve,I'm sitting outside overlooking the ocean, drinking the local wine.Two hours is rushing me.

                                                          1. re: emglow101

                                                            When I lived in the Caribbean, the rule of thumb was to plan 2 hours of chores each day, and then do half of them so you are not without something to do tomorrow.

                                                            1. re: emglow101

                                                              once I have the table I can stay for many hours, waiting for the table makes me itch as that's time I could be on the beach or wandering.

                                                        2. Only in cases of natural disasters and no other choice......

                                                          When Superstorm Sandy hit and knocked out power for weeks in the area, most supermarkets had their inventory condemned, most restaurants could not operate and after a few days of generators and dry ice, the home food supplies were running out.

                                                          A few local restaurants manged to bring in limited supplies of food via 4 wheel drives and had both gas cooking and refrigeration. They opened 5 days after the storm hit and worked daylight hours only--no electricity. Meals were a set $5pp you either had cash or signed their IOU book to settle up after things returned to normal.
                                                          It was not unusual to have a 3 hour wait for a cooked meal.

                                                          BTW>>>>at the same time, the wait for a shower at the local high school locker rooms was 4 hours

                                                          In normal times, my waiting time limit is 20 minutes

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: bagelman01

                                                            Difficult times call for difficult measures. I commend the restaurants for opening and charging such a small amount. Really makes a community.

                                                            1. I want to say no but I feel like I've waited close to this amount of time, at a Cheesecake Factory in Charlotte, NC. It was 5 years ago, and no, I have no explanation as to why.

                                                              19 Replies
                                                              1. re: SaraAshley

                                                                I think the CF does that on purpose. There was a CF that was on the corner with windows in the town I used to live in (Pasadena, CA) There was always a wait in front but if you looked in many tables were wide open. We went to a restaurant that did that as well. we waited about 5-10 min then seated in a half full dining room. Maybe there's a reason (not enough help to cover tables) but somehow I feel like they want a crowd to gather in front.

                                                                or is it just bad dining room management??

                                                                1. re: trolley

                                                                  I agree....to sell the baked goods (cheesecakes by the slice, whole cakes, etc.) and gifts they offer off the lobby. CF does a large gift business. They even sell plush toys to go with your gift. So, they want that crowd to consider buying by the slice on the way out and gifting ideas.

                                                                  1. re: trolley

                                                                    From my experience working in both front & back of house of restaurants, this is so you get decent service from all aspects, from the bar, to the table & the kitchen. Just because there are open tables, does not mean they have a full staff & full kitchen to wait on every single one. I'd rather wait in a lobby or bar and get my drinks in a timely fashion, my food order correct the first time and an attentive waiter who wasn't in the weeds, than be seated immediately, but then wait forever for poor service because waitstaff & kitchen are overwhelmed.

                                                                    Also from my experience CFs are consistently crowded because they serve a wide variety of popular things to eat, most of which are decent, abundant portions, before those whiny types complained it was too much food, at a reasonable price.

                                                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                      Ha! I was going to answer that I have only waited that long in one and only one place...Cheesecake Factory, in a mall, believe it or not! But, the circumstances are girls shopping weekend over the border in Buffalo...we would do breakfast, shop all day, and then meet around 3 or 4 for late lunch/early dinner. By that point we needed to take a load off and sit on a bench for a while, plus once the group was all there we would people would come and go into the little shops near the CF. Inevitably someone would be tired before the meeting point and pick up our buzzer earlier than the meeting time. Plus the novelty of CF which we don't have in Canada plus the abundant choices (many of which you can lunch sized portions of before 5) plus drinks made it worth it for us. Plus after the wait and the meal we'd have enough oomph to shop the mall for a couple more hours. But after a few years of doing this, we decided that no wait across the parking lot at the upscale burger/brew place was better!

                                                                      But under normal circumstances, no way for 2 hours. With kids, 15-20 mins tops. With just the hubby I'd do an hour or so as long as we could sit at a bar with a drink. In our little town the best/kind of our only option takes reservations...but if we would were in Toronto or elsewhere out of town there would be plenty of places that do take reservations and those would be one of my picks. To me spending hours waiting for a table is not a good use of time in somewhere I might not be again!

                                                                    2. re: trolley

                                                                      I have no idea, but this Cheesecake Factory always had a ridiculous wait. We braved it a couple times while living there. We'd typically order drinks and just wait it out at the bar. I'm not so enamoured by CKF anymore and would never wait that long again for it. In fact, I have one 10 minutes from my house now and have never even been to this location. No idea what this one's waits are like.

                                                                      1. re: SaraAshley

                                                                        Went to CF on a Saturday night this past summer. (Friend's idea). Walked in, place was empty. They said the wait for a table was twenty min. Huh?

                                                                        1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                          Haha! That's nuts! Maybe it really is more a Cheesecake Factor thing and not the fact that it is just that *crowded*.

                                                                          1. re: SaraAshley

                                                                            Could be. When we finally got to our table and started ordering, the poor waiter was so overwhelmed he walked away.

                                                                            1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                              I seem to remember a discussion about this -- I believe it's actually corporate policy at some of the big chains - it's how they get you to order drinks and appetizers (or so they claim)

                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                I wouldn't be surprised. (Fwiw, drinks, appetizers, food stunk. And they were sold out of skim milk)

                                                                                1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                  once in a while, I've actually said " hey, I'm on a tight schedule, and I don't have time to have a drink before dinner...if you can't seat me immediately in one of the dozen tables I see that are empty, then I'll go somewhere else."

                                                                                  I've never had to actually go anywhere else.

                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                    Good to know that.
                                                                                    We were actually with a group of friends who were perfectly content to sit for hours eating avocado egg rolls.

                                                                          2. re: cheesecake17

                                                                            This tells me one of two things, either 1) They expect to be empty and have staffed the kitchen and waitstaff accordingly, and although they have a place for you to sit, they don't have the capacity to wait on you or get your food out promptly. Or 2) it's caugh and cold season and not only are a number of potential patrons ill, much of the staff has also called in sick. Since yours was a summer visit, I would assume the former.

                                                                            1. re: mikie

                                                                              And/or 3) cheesecake needs new friends.

                                                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                                                Funny, these were the NEW friends!
                                                                                But honestly, when it comes to eating out, no one likes what I like. Sometimes I shut up and give in

                                                                              2. re: mikie

                                                                                It seemed like they had a ton of waiters. Can't say anything about the kitchen.
                                                                                Who knows.
                                                                                But I'm not going back

                                                                          3. re: trolley

                                                                            a table being "open" doesn't mean that the restaurant has, at that moment, the capability of providing good service to the table.
                                                                            the level of staffing at restaurants is not held constant at all times to match the physical capacity of the restaurant.

                                                                            1. re: westsidegal

                                                                              I dunno how all the back/front restaurant business works, but a row of servers standing and a row of cooks (sort of open kitchen) means they're bored to me

                                                                          4. re: SaraAshley

                                                                            I have waited a ridiculously long time at three different Cheesecake Factory's in years past -- Phoenix, Honolulu, and Bellevue, WA. No rhyme or reason that I could figure out...maybe it is part of their business model to keep people waiting and create a buzz about how popular they are?? Apparently enough people buy into it.

                                                                            I am not a big CF fan, but the varied menu and large portions makes it a decent choice when dining with a group...there's something there for just about everyone.

                                                                          5. I won't wait 2 minutes anywhere there are kids running around. Otherwise, if the wait is expected and the company I'm with is good, as long as there is someplace comfortable to wait and possibly cocktails and apps I would. An unexpected wait? Doubtful- I'm usually hungry and ready to eat.

                                                                            1. Not with a five year old, I wouldn't.

                                                                              1. At times, in cavernous multi-room restaurants, I've gotten the impression that the modus operandi of the place is to shuffle you off to the bar and let you rack up a big tab while waiting for a table that has been available since you walked in the door. Case in point.....The Bubble Room in Captiva Florida.

                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                1. re: grampart

                                                                                  Aw, man. That place is still around? I think I almost had a kitsch seizure hanging out there.....

                                                                                  1. re: grampart

                                                                                    That's surprising. Captiva is too elegant a place to be jacking people around.

                                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                                      This was at least 15 years ago and, believe me, there was nothing elegant about The Bubble Room.

                                                                                      1. re: grampart

                                                                                        In which case, I'm glad I passed it to and from the South Sea Plantation.

                                                                                        1. re: grampart

                                                                                          Oy. I just realized that my visit was .... 17 years ago. That's a scary thought.

                                                                                    2. Forget a 5 year old; I'd be having the meltdown!
                                                                                      So, no.

                                                                                      1. That restaurant you went to sounds like the fifth circle of hell to me....!!

                                                                                        I live in nyc, there are tons of places that have that kind of crazy wait. And yes, i have waited that long a few times, for new "it" spots, years ago now- i was with friends and we were able to go for drinks nearby and they text or called when the table was ready. Worth it? Maybe... Would i do it again? Maybe- if they text when the table was ready and we were able to have drinks and snacks nearby. But not at the place you described!
                                                                                        And in no circumstance ever with small children. Ever.

                                                                                        1. Nope.

                                                                                          I've been known to walk out of dr.'s waiting rooms too. I have a 15 minute rule.

                                                                                          Any longer than that and I figure the proprietor (he she doctor whatever...) doesn't really need my business.

                                                                                            1. In certain circumstances, for certain restaurants, yes, I'd wait 2 hours. Some have commented on the Peter Luger; yes, I'd wait 2 hours for that. Or for Pecan Lodge barbecue in Dallas. And for some other places scattered about in London, Barcelona, Rome, etc. etc.

                                                                                              BUT, the criteria involved would be this:

                                                                                              It MUST be iconic - a restaurant so well-known and known for so long, for such quality, that you can be assured of a satisfactory result.

                                                                                              It must be a situation where for one reason or another booking wasn't an option - not necessarily only because they don't take bookings at all, but there are times when you didn't have any opportunity to book earlier.

                                                                                              It must be at a point where this is the only realistic chance you'll have to go there any time in the near future, or alternatively that there are no other decent food options anywhere within practicable distance or time.

                                                                                              It should be noted, however, that if these conditions apply, I'll *happily* wait the time, rather than settle for a mediocre or at best decent meal somewhere else.

                                                                                              Some restaurants have reasonable ways of coping with this. One time, I went to a particular restaurant in Rome on a Saturday night. Unsurprisingly I was informed of a 1 hour 15 minute wait on arrival. No problem, I said, I could wander around the city centre for that time; it was a pleasant evening, nice time for a passeggiata. The host was perfectly OK with that. And when I arrived back, 1 hour and 15 minutes later, the host immediately saw me, and took me to my table instantly. That's professional.

                                                                                              On the other hand, it sounds like none of the above applied in your particular case. What is the reason for the wild popularity of this place? It sounds like some strange sort of mob frenzy has taken over.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. no No, and NO!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                not for any restaurant

                                                                                                Some have waits...I leave......15-20 is my Max.and it had better be a damn good place!

                                                                                                And if I have a resv and I have to wait more than 10 mins.............sayonara

                                                                                                1. I was in Toronto for vacation. Winter, freezing cold to be sure. I went to the popular Guu Izakaya.

                                                                                                  <Then, I was there, and people after people were told that they need to wait for 90 minutes.....>


                                                                                                  I have definitely heard of people waiting for 90+ min for a restaurant, but this one is in a below freezing cold weather. Oh yes, there were only limited space to wait inside, so some people had to wait outside in the cold.

                                                                                                  Should you ever wait for 90+ min for a restaurant sitting? It is entirely up to you.

                                                                                                  1. Where I live a drive-through coffee shop opened and offered a free coffee the first day. People lined up for an hour or more, engines running. For a free coffee? What is wrong with people?

                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Chatsworth

                                                                                                      Hurray! $4 of gas for a free $3 coffee! Yippee!

                                                                                                      (grumbles back to the sofa)

                                                                                                      1. re: Chatsworth

                                                                                                        Reminds me..
                                                                                                        Last year Starbucks was offering a free frappucino for showing up and asking for it.
                                                                                                        Went in (not knowing about this) and I wanted to order (and PAY for) a coffee. The place was jammed with high school kids wanting free drinks. Walked up to the barista, explained I wanted to pay for a coffee, they said I have to wait on line. I left.

                                                                                                        1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                          Similar to the throngs in queue when Denny's offers free breakfast. Is a Grand Slam worth a 3 hour wait? I guess for some.
                                                                                                          I sometimes wonder if it is worth the time to get the painfully slow last 25 cents worth of gas as I always pre-pay with cash. When I am underdressed for inclement weather, I let it go.

                                                                                                            1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                              But i wanted to pay! It was a one hour wait. Ugh

                                                                                                              1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                Sorry, I should have included the 'eyes rolling' emoticon. You'd think paying customers could use the fast lane or something.

                                                                                                              1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                That's a long wait for a wiener my friend.

                                                                                                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                  At Rutt's....the grease is in your stomach in less than 5 on the busiest day.....

                                                                                                                2. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                  don't get me started on the Pinks Hot Dog line. I used to live down the street from that place. Oh, the poor people getting tricked on that line...

                                                                                                                3. The scene you described would send me running and screaming for the door. I would never subject a hungry little five year old to that torture and waiting two hours either. If it were just me and I knew the venue was worth the wait then depending on how hungry I felt I would wait. Good things come to those who wait. I have waited up to an hour to be seated many times.

                                                                                                                  1. I would only wait more than 30 minutes if they didn't accept reservations, and I was in a town which I would not be visiting again for more than a year, AND the food was EXTREMELY well recommended. So in short, no, I wouldn't wait two hours to be seated. At the end of the day it's food, my time is more valuable than that, and the best meal ever created is still not that unique or life changing.

                                                                                                                    1. Did it twice - once once to try the Clam Box in Ipswich, MA. Heard so much praise for their quality that we went out of our way and waiting a good two hours for our order. While it was of excellent quality, I've had just as good and at times better elsewhere, always with a much quicker turnover time. Never again.

                                                                                                                      Oddly, I only recall terrible places such as Cheesecake, Olive Garden, Red Lobster & Outback having such lines. / wait. Did it once at Outback some 25 years ago with a group of family that insisted we go there. Have never been back.

                                                                                                                      About 15 minutes is my maximum wait.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: Clams047

                                                                                                                        That might be my one exception! (grins)......but Nothing...not even my beloved Fried clams... can justify a 2 hour wait.

                                                                                                                      2. http://uptownalmanac.com/2014/02/san-...

                                                                                                                        totally different scenario than mine but I guess people like waiting whatever the conditions are...

                                                                                                                        1. No........I'm at a stage in my life where nothing is worth a two hour wait. Outside of perhaps meeting the Pope, and only this one, not even the last one, would I wait 2 hours. I'll even put the Dalai Lama on that list too, interesting side note; My niece met and spent some quality time with the Dalai Lama on a recent visit of his to New York.

                                                                                                                          1. People in the under-developed world have far too much common sense and are far too busy surviving to do something stupid like wait two hours at a restaurant.

                                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                                                                              You are mostly right! Waiting 2 hours for a restaurant table is a first world thing. Waiting 2 hours to pay one's electric bill is a third world thing.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                What world problem is it if you are waiting two hours for your table at a restaurant, and pay all your utility bills online while you wait?

                                                                                                                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                  That's good first world multi-tasking. Paying utility bills online in 3rd world countries is far in the future. A reason for few third world participants on CH is a lack of internet access.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                    and reliable mail delivery. and modern banking technology. and just getting to the bank or the utility office.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                      Or expecting a tradesman to show up on time. Third world living can be beautiful and charming, but it comes with a price that fast paced Americans are not accustomed to.
                                                                                                                                      If you are waiting and waiting for your restaurant server to bring your bill, and you haven't seen him/her for half an hour, just stand up and head for the door and they magically re-appear.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                        I think I'm ready to make the trade of first world convenience for 2nd or 3rd world change of pace.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                          It worked for little veggo and me for a long time! Caribbean time is unlike your daily routine in NJ. You will start every day really slowly, and back it down from there. And don't do more than 1/2 day's chores in a single day.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                            The way this country is going it might not be that long before we all get to experience a 2nd or 3rd world "change of pace".

                                                                                                                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                              I don't think you want the second world experience. There are you do is stand in line. Stand in line for food, toilet paper, rations.

                                                                                                                                2. Wow...I remember way back, probably circa 1994, the first Olive Garden opened in my neck of the woods. I'd never heard of it before, but the "buzz" sounded good. We decided to check it out one Wednesday for dinner. There was a 3 hour wait for a table.

                                                                                                                                  No, I won't wait that long to eat. Also, I find that while there may be a 2 hour line for the local hot restaurant or the local Italian joint, one can always find a delicious Indian or Thai restaurant down the road with no line at all :)

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: mwk

                                                                                                                                    if we're with people we haven't seen for a while, I don't mind spending 45 min-1 hr having a glass of wine and chatting -- as mentioned, by the time you get back in the car and drive somewhere else, you haven't really gained anything.

                                                                                                                                    But 2 hours? 3 hours? No way. Some of the restaurants at tourist destinations (the kids used to like Rainforest Cafe at Disney) have 2-hour waits, but you put your name on the list and go do something else, not stand there in the middle of a three-ring circus as the op described.

                                                                                                                                  2. A few of my local favorites don't take reservations and are very popular. I'll put up with a wait sometimes, but I try to be smart about it. I don't show up at 7:30 on a Saturday starving, for example. I'm also less partial to waiting if the bar is packed.

                                                                                                                                    1. I DK the place, but all the chains where I live are REGULARLY on a 1.5-2 hour dinner wait every freaking Saturday. And we have dozens upon dozens of really great indie spots all over town. I've been out with the small fry a few times and popped into one of these when close by and each time am told it's going to be 2 hours. One place was on what they call an "unlimited" wait. And the scene of people waiting is just like the OP described. I really don't get it.

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                                                                                                                                      1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                        But recall that early in Dennis Kucinich's political career, Cleveland was a near wasteland.

                                                                                                                                      2. Never. I will not cede more that 10-15 minutes of my life to a restaurant that's not providing me with any service, no matter who they are.

                                                                                                                                        However, as long as there are people who will, the restaurant is going to have all the business they want, and no reason to change.

                                                                                                                                        So, scratch 'em off your list.

                                                                                                                                        1. also makes me wonder how good the dining experience can possibly be with this sort of chaos going on. Enjoy your meal, and just wait for the herd of goats!

                                                                                                                                          Which in turn makes me wonder what kind of chaos the back of the house is, if they believe that having that much chaos in the front of the house is okay.

                                                                                                                                          1. I wouldn't wait under the circumstances you describe. There are restaurants in my area that have long waits, usually trendy and brand-new ones, but I steer clear.

                                                                                                                                            1. Short answer: NO!

                                                                                                                                              Long answer: NO, regardless of what is preceived to be the quality of the food. If the hostess tells me 30 min, sometimes I'll wait that long, but nothing over that and at 35 min, I'm coming up with plan "B" if I'm not seated.

                                                                                                                                              Not too long ago I was told 30-35 minutes and decided to wait, it went much longer than that, and I will never go to that restaurant again.

                                                                                                                                              1. It all depends :)
                                                                                                                                                2 hour wait at 7:30, with a smart cocktail bar next door? And the host at the resto will call my mobile when the table is ready? Sure. I was planning on a cocktail anyways, and so not really important what table it's at.
                                                                                                                                                We did also wait over 60 minutes for a table at a casual Chinese place for dim sum, one time. Not my choice of restaurant, and it was a big-ish group, so hard to mobilize a change of location.
                                                                                                                                                But with a child, in the midst of chaos? Nope.

                                                                                                                                                  1. No.

                                                                                                                                                    Maybe 60 minutes (and that is pushing it) if I can sit in a comfy lounge and drink wine.

                                                                                                                                                    I usually never eat where there are children around. If children were running around chaotically....I would be doing a 180 out the door anyway.

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                      oh and BTW, my child never runs in a restaurant. in fact, he must remain in his seat unless he needs to be accompanied to the rest room. He has crayons and does his thing. if he couldn't sit still we wouldn't bring him out to eat unless he was developmentally ready to sit still for the duration of the meal.

                                                                                                                                                    2. I'm single so waiting 2 hrs for anything with a line of kids I'd be outta there in 5 minutes,lol.Something you could try since they have been there for at least a month is just to call them and ask when their slow times are.Times may be not what you like but you would get to try the food and see if you think it's worth waiting for.

                                                                                                                                                      1. Would I wait? Nope. My limit is about 15-20 minutes as well, and that's at the absolute outer edge.

                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LMAshton

                                                                                                                                                          A lot of people have responded with maximal wait times that, at least to me, seem a bit short on popular nights in major cities - such that it might be difficult to find *anywhere* with a wait time less than, say, 30 minutes on a Saturday night in certain cities or areas of cities. There are times when expediency, to me, dictates that you may well spend as much or more time in fruitless wandering from place to place (or limiting your options to the more dismal, hence unpopular places) - so at a point it's often easier, turning up without a booking, to settle for wait times within the scope of what you know is likely to be realistic for *any* restaurant then and there.

                                                                                                                                                          So what do you do, if your wait threshold is lower than the *general* wait time for anywhere? Especially if you're with a group who either strongly prefer to avoid making reservations or suggested going out at the last minute?

                                                                                                                                                          And finally, on a related topic: Many top-end restaurants have "wait times" for *bookings* measured in weeks or even months. What's your threshold on that? From my POV I'll say there's no way I'm going to accept a booking wait time measured in months *unless* I have a clearly foreseeable journey to a foreign destination. And even then, I probably won't book at places like that - where it really is a bit of a lottery - without some external motivating factor.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: AlexRast

                                                                                                                                                            We design our life in a way that suits us. When we go out to eat, it's at lunch time, not at dinner time. We go out when is best to avoid crowds, so also not on weekends or during the lunch rush. We don't particularly enjoy the crowded restaurant atmosphere. On the rare occasion that we go out on weekends, it's usually with others, and we usually make a reservation.

                                                                                                                                                            Where we live or travel to, with the restaurants we go to, there are no wait times to book reservations. That simply doesn't apply to us.

                                                                                                                                                            What we do may not suit others. Which is fine.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: AlexRast

                                                                                                                                                              there is no place on the planet that is so special or precious that I'm going to book months or even weeks in advance.


                                                                                                                                                              1. re: AlexRast

                                                                                                                                                                I chose to avoid situations where such waits are a factor. Period. Life's too short. There are top-end restaurants I never visit. If my party is small, we dine early in places where we can. And those places are far from dismal or mediocre; they are just not "hot" at the moment. The glamor factor is entirely negative in my book, anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                Ruthless sifting out of situations where waits are a factor. It's not terribly difficult; lots of people do it.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: AlexRast

                                                                                                                                                                  Sure, if I go to the trendiest food hot spot street in town, there's most likely going to be a wait on Saturday night. Or Thursdays for a patio seat in the financial district? Forget it. But it's a big big city (Toronto) and there's always other options, within blocks. They might not seem like real options to the foodies or traders but they have food and drink and I don't *have to* wait.

                                                                                                                                                              2. I have in the past. I probably will in the future. But it is not my choice. The places I like to eat usually have less traffic and have a small but solid customer-base, usually with reservations available. I enjoy being with friends and family, though, and sometimes these busy hubs are their choice. In that case, I would plan ahead, knowing. I would NEVER let my daughter run around like that, though. Even when she was a toddler, if I were expecting her to wait like that, it would be my job to figure out how to occupy her quietly for that amount of time. She is older now, and conversation is enough, along with Archie comics... but what you describe does not seem pleasant.

                                                                                                                                                                1. I could not imagine waiting two hours in the scenario described in the OP. Just reading it made my head want to explode.

                                                                                                                                                                  I could see myself waiting two hours (but not in the midst of chaos) for a table if 1) it was very important to someone I loved...i.e., they really wanted to go to that specific restaurant and waiting that long for a table would bring them joy; or 2) if there was a two-hour wait but it was someplace where I could pass the time shopping or sight-seeing and return (or be called) when the table was ready.

                                                                                                                                                                  Any other situation, highly improbable.

                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                                                    yes& i have. but havent stood in line for the 2 hours---
                                                                                                                                                                    show up at 5:30-- give them your cell#& go elsewhere for a drink shopping,etc. when they call, you are ready to dine

                                                                                                                                                                  2. I rarely go to any restaurant that doesn't take reservations, but if I do, there's no way that I'd wait more than 10-15 minutes. Same goes for restaurants where I've reserved. If I have a reservation, I expect to be seated on time but can accept an occasional 10 minute wait. Longer than that, I expect an explanation, an apology, and perhaps some perk...a drink, glass of wine, or something.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. There is a little tea and cake shop in front of Grand Front Osaka that regularly posts a 200 minute wait in front of a outdoor snaking cue like at an ATM. The shortest wait I have seen posted there was 90 minutes.

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                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tougeika

                                                                                                                                                                        I don't mean to come off slightly ethnocentric but waiting in a cue in Japan is an entirely different sport than waiting in a mad house restaurant in the states. Japanese people wouldn't let their kids climb all over the place and act out too much in public. OTOH, a wait is a wait. 2 hrs is the same in Tokyo as it is in Los Angeles or Memphis.

                                                                                                                                                                        I guess people will wait for anything. Even bad coffee at a gimmick. A friend walked over to the Dumb Starbucks and it was 100+ on the line and a wait over 1.5 hrs.


                                                                                                                                                                      2. I haven't read through all the posts yet but so far no one has mentioned this. Did they have their hours posted anywhere? You said nothing about this. It sounds to me like they weren't yet open for dinner business at 4:30 -

                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Jeanne

                                                                                                                                                                          the restaurant opens at 4pm. They serve brunch on the weekends but is closed for a few hours in between. I asked if it would be better if I came back later and they said it would be worse. I asked if they took reservations and they said no. There's a sushi place in downtown LA called sushi Gen. It's decent sushi and people line up. However, the trick is to get there either at 5pm or at 5:45 but not in between.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. maybe their overbooking like the airlines do to insure all the seats are full all the time so walk-ins would be last,either way.Saturday at 4:30 would be very crowded.4:30 or later go during the week,weekends before 3:00.

                                                                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gremlin21

                                                                                                                                                                            They don't take reservations. In fact, I got a response to my negative review which I found a bit on the condescending side. "...The issue of the long waits is simple math. We've got 118 seats and our average table turn is about 90- 120 minutes. If you are number 119 on the wait list, it will probably take you around 90-120 minutes to be seated..."

                                                                                                                                                                            90-120 minutes? Maybe I'm crazy but that sounds really long for a table turn. this isn't fine dining with courses. it's casual new american food. Or do I just not get it?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                              there must be a lot of us that don't get it - because that's just screwy.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                is it screwy? 90-120 minutes to turn a table? it just seems awfully long doesn't it? or is that average? I thought 90 min max for upscale dining.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                  not just the timing for a casual restaurant, but the whole argument about being diner 119.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Those 118 people didn't all come in and sit down at the same time...so they aren't all going to leave at the same time, either.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                    yeah, i thought there was something off about her response. I didn't like that she had to say it was also "simple math" like I was a dumb little kid. I responded with just as passive aggressive response and said, wow 90-120 minutes! I think maybe you need to hire more FOH people who have experience turning tables.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                Especially since I'd guarantee as probable fact that all 118 seats aren't seated and served within EXACTLY THE SAME TIME FRAME.

                                                                                                                                                                                Which means their 90-120 min. wait based on that reasoning is horse hockey pucks.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. No...My body would not last that long without my pre dinner cocktail.....I do not do standing bar waiting rooms....

                                                                                                                                                                                1. As Mickey Rooney said: Life Is Too Short.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mwhitmore

                                                                                                                                                                                    So was he. But he played the hand he was dealt, well.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                      Indeed. That was that was the title of his autobiography.