3/21/2013 02:27:00 PM

Ask the Zagat Blog: Why Do So Many Cool Restaurants Refuse to Take Reservations?

Eating out in our fair city raises all sorts of burning questions. Is it okay to take a date to a food trailer? Yay or nay on cargo shorts at Uchiko? Then there are the more general questions we’ve always wondered but been too afraid to ask. Are you allowed to eat garnish? Who pays for that extra appetizer?

That’s where the Austin Zagat blog comes in. Ask us anything your heart desires in the comments section below, and we'll give you our honest opinion. 

This week a reader asked us, Why do so many cool restaurants refuse to take reservations? 

You’re absolutely right, some of the hippest restaurants in town either don’t take reservations or take limited reservations: Uchi, Enoteca, Contigo, Barley Swine and countless others.

Often it’s because Austin restaurants are so dang small. Maggie Morris, the manager at Enoteca, says, “It doesn’t make sense to hold tables for reservations if you don’t have many tables to start out with. Say we reserved all of our 16 inside tables at 6 PM. What do we do with people that are walking in?”

Uchi had a similar story when we talked to them, especially since people love to hang for hours out at the cool but tiny South Lamar sushi restaurant. Still, small spaces like Backspace encourage reservations, and itty-bitty Lenoir on South First is almost reservations-only.

And it could be worse. Some restaurants (ahem, Clay Pit) take waaaay too many reservations, which means you still have to wait for 30 minutes or so for your table. We’d much rather have the place take down our cell number and call us when the table is ready. And who knows, with Barley Swine's recent move to taking early evening and late-night reservations, there may be more tables in the future.

Need to get in touch with the Zagat blog in Austin? Email Megan Giller at megzagATX at gmail dot com.

1 comment :

  1. I guess it is because some customers make reservations but doesn’t show up. And it would have a detrimental effect on their business. It would be better if they will have the first come, first serve policy. It is a sure income if they have customers at hand.