Web Original: Dining Crimes: No Reservations

Few things frustrate me more than a restaurant that doesn’t take reservations. As much as I loved Pub & Kitchen, reviewed in the December issue, I hated standing around the bar (or worse, outside in the rain) waiting for a table. And because of this wrong-minded policy, I rarely return. Other excellent places like Standard Tap, Chloe and Mercato have all been crossed off my personal list of go-to restaurants, too. I understand the logic: By not accepting reservations, a restaurant can have back-to-back table turnovers all night and avoid the risk of costly no-shows. And I think a lot of restaurateurs actually believe that not accepting reservations makes them more welcoming to their neighbors, who are more likely to be walk-in customers. But there is a happy medium. Why not take reservations for one-third of the seats? That way, someone who really wants to plan to eat there will be able to and there will still be plenty of room for walk-ins. And if no-shows are the big concern, go ahead and require my credit card number to hold my table as an insurance policy. It sure beats not accepting reservations at all; that’s just bad customer service.