How to Score a Last-Minute Table at a Restaurant
Hauke Dressler / Getty Images

How to Score a Last-Minute Table at a Restaurant

Websites and mobile apps have lifted the curtain on restaurant reservations, rewarding regular diners and advance planners. But if you’re winging it, there’s a new round of apps that help procrastinators find coveted tables at the last minute. 

“It’s a jungle out there,” says Salvatore Rizzo, who owns De Gustibus Cooking School in Manhattan and has spent three decades in the food industry, most recently as director of house events for the James Beard Foundation. “Especially if you’re in a city, apps are your second best bet after facial recognition.” 

The fact is, many of the old school strategies don’t work anymore. You can try calling ahead, but restaurants often lack enough staffing to tend to the phones during a rush and you'll probably have to show up before being promised a spot. And slipping the maitre d’ a $20 is a dated practice that’s widely considered poor taste, Rizzo says. If you don’t have the time or dedication to become a regular, your smartphone may be your fastest ticket in. 

Here are six new apps and a Twitter feed that will make spontaneous dining less stressful. 

Launch Gallery »

Facebook just added to your Activity: This Article


Stay Connected

Sign up to receive the Men’s Journal newsletter and special offers from MJ and its marketing partners.

How we use your email

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Men's Journal and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.


Spring Gear

The Best New Tools, Toys & Tech

Plus: 21 Days to Total Fitness