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Topic: Cantinetta

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December 5, 2013 at 11:42 PM

Your table is not waiting, but you are: the ‘no reservations’ game

A menu at Blind Pig Bistro Photo: Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times

Menu at Blind Pig Bistro
Photo: Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times

With just 27 seats and a chalkboard menu listing fewer than a dozen items, Blind Pig Bistro appears to be the sort of neighborhood place that wouldn’t take reservations, much less offer a tasting menu.

But the two-year-old Eastlake eatery announced this week they now accept reservations, plus they’ve made their popular whole-menu tasting option more attractive: the 8 to10-plate shareable feast is priced at $35-$45 per person.

The news got me wondering anew why some restaurants take reservations, while others—to the annoyance of many diners, me included—don’t.

Blind Pig’s chef/owner Charles Walpole says he’s thinking of his customers. “The idea at this point is, how can we be better, how can we grow. Taking reservations is one way we can improve service. It’s asking a lot to ask people to come in and not have a table waiting.”

He’s also thinking long term. In 2014 he plans to transform the adjacent Eastlake Teryiyaki into a 35-seat bar and lounge. The two storefronts will be connected but have separate names and menus.

The reason many small restaurants don’t take reservations, says Walpole, is largely a staffing issue. “It requires managing the tables, calling and confirming the reservations. We have a bigger staff and a stronger team. We feel we can do it now and do it right.”

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0 Comments | Topics: Blind Pig Bistro, Cantinetta, Ethan Stowell Restaurants