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All You Can Eat

Trend-setting restaurants, Northwest cookbooks, local food news and the people who make them happen.

Topic: The Whale Wins

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

June 7, 2013 at 4:36 PM

Vegan kudos, salad days, collard wraps and other vegetation

It’s been a week!

The folks at PETA want me to tell you that Seattle was just named one of America’s top 10 vegan-friendly cities. Done. I told you to eat more collards — and showed you why you need to start rolling your own. Meanwhile, over on KPLU Stein and I talked about salads: He carried on about the iceberg variety and gave the big thumbs up to The Smitten Kitchen’s Deb Perelman for her smartypants idea for building a better wedge salad (ditch the wedge and go horizontal) while I offered my time-tested recipe for Thousand Island dressing (you’ve got the goods in your fridge) and waxed rhapsodic about one of the best salads in Seattle. Listen in here.

The "lettuces salad" at the Whale Wins. (photo by Nancy Leson)

The “lettuces salad” at The Whale Wins. So good, I make it at home, too. (photo by Nancy Leson)

 

And just to keep things exciting, I got bawled out by a reader who read my cover story in today’s Weekend Plus — the one that talks about restaurants where carnivores and vegetarians can happily co-exist. Her beef? (Well, one of them):

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Comments | Topics: collards, Smitten Kitchen, The Whale Wins