How Long Is Too Long to Wait For a Table at a Restaurant?
New Yorkers are certainly no strangers when it comes to obscene wait times for meals, but, hey, it's different in the Valley. So whether you have reservations or not, is waiting for a table at a popular restaurant worth it in the end? I asked Valley chefs and restaurateurs how long they would stick around, and here's what they had to say:
Joe Johnston, owner, Joe's Real BBQ, Joe's Fresh Farm Grill, Liberty Market, Agritopia
If I am alone, I will wait about 15 minutes. If I can have a social beverage to take the edge off and am with my wife and friends for company, I can wait 45 minutes. My longest wait was for Pizzeria Bianco at 2.5 hours, but we were having a great time at Bar Bianco playing cards, and we expected a long wait as a part of the experience.
Eddie Matney Chef and owner, Eddie's House
If you have a reservation, then hopefully no more than 15 minutes past your reservation time, unless the place is really busy -- then, perhaps, 30 minutes. Without a reservation, 30 to 45 minutes may be a standard wait, but if I'm hungry, I might look around and see what other options are available.
Amy Binkley Owner, Binkley's and Cafe Bink
If I have a reservation, I expect to be seated no longer than 20 minutes past my reservation time.
Chef Eric O'Neill SmartKitchen.com
Waiting for a seat or waiting to order can be a painful experience. In my mind, if I do need to wait, I'm waiting for a dish that I can't live without that day, and usually, in the end, it's worth it. If it's worth it, I will wait up to 30 minutes. Nothing past that time.
Giovanni Scorzo Chef and Proprietor, Andreoli Italian Grocer
I would never complain about a wait as long as the food is good.
Christopher Gross Chef and Owner, Christopher's Restaurant & Crush Lounge
It depends on what kind of restaurant it is, how bad you want to eat there, or how hungry you are. So, I guess maybe 30 minutes, as long as the restaurant has a nice bar to drink champagne at while your table is getting ready.
Trish Clark, Manager Bungalow Bar & Grill
Upon arriving, you shouldn't have to wait more than a minute or two to be acknowledged. Once seated, it should take no more than 2 to 3 minutes before a server acknowledges you. Once your order is placed, it shouldn't take more than 3 to 4 minutes for your beverages and no more than 20 minutes for your food. Of course, all this varies depending on how busy the restaurant is.
Jon Lane Owner, O.H.S.O.
About 45 minutes to one hour. After that, the drink is gone, the tummy is hungry!
Romeo Taus Chef and Owner, Romeo's Cafe
Restaurants that do not take reservations: 35 to 45 minutes -- one hour if I don't have to wait in the heat. I always allow for the day of the week and the time. The size of the party, two versus twelve, and a bottleneck effect, three or four tables seated at once, affects the dining room and kitchen and adds some time.
Dana Mule GM and Partner, Hula's Modern Tiki
If it's a weekend night at a popular restaurant that you love, then waiting an hour-plus is more than okay. Part of the experience, the fun, of dining out is having a few drinks at the bar while interacting with friends. It can sometimes be as rewarding as the meal itself.
Justin Beckett Chef and Owner, Beckett's Table
If you did not make a reservation, no more than 30 to 40 minutes. If the restaurant has a bar, I like to sit and get the night started or end up just eating dinner there.
Brent Shinyeda, General Manager BLD Chandler
One hour for a table is too long of a wait. There are too many great restaurants to choose from.
Chef Donald Fawcett Renegade Canteen
It depends on the circumstances, but I would say that one hour is the cut off. I personally won't wait longer than 20 minutes because I don't feel like there's a shortage of places to eat in this town. If it's a date night, and I feel like getting a bottle of wine, I might wait an hour or so.
David Viviano Chef, The Westin Phoenix Downtown
Forty-five minutes is my threshold, but it better be worth the wait. If I'm hungry -- which usual means I'm highly irritable -- I can't make it much pass 15 minutes.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.