Jessica Sidman just posted her final column as Food Editor at City Paper, and took the opportunity to spill some fascinating secrets about the ins and outs of food media. The whole article is pretty delightful, but one particular paragraph reveals her trick to getting reservations at the busiest, fanciest restaurants.
The solution is a website that tracks reservations and cancellations, using them to determine when tables open up at restaurants at the last second. Even the most exclusive reservations fall through at the last minute, and this site lets you pounce on them. It's not a new site, and it has gotten press in the past, but this information is far more authoritative than any other source. A food editor has spoken: The site works as advertised.
The Website: Rezhound.com
Sidman explains just why it's essential:
“This is perhaps one of my best dining secrets. Let’s say I did want that 8 p.m. Friday table at Le Diplomate, but OpenTable shows it’s fully booked. I head to Rezhound.com, enter my desired time frame and contact info, and wait. The service runs bots through OpenTable and sends an email and text message if something opens up. Then I can immediately head to the reservation site and book a spot. Because people often cancel reservations last minute, this is a fairly effective way to get the most sought-after tables.”
It's a great trick for a specific type of person: the penniless Millennial hipster who nevertheless wants to have a great dinner. Sure, you sacrifice a little planning ahead, but spontaneity is fun, too. If you can't slip the server a hundred bucks, it's tough to enjoy landing exclusive reservations. Now you can.