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Still Hot or Not? A Quick Spot Check on Wait Times

Toki Underground
Toki Underground
Photo: R. Lopez

They were hot when they opened — are the lines still epic? Here's a quick survey of wait times at restaurants that were popular about a year ago (as well as restaurants notorious for their lines). Last week, Eater did a quick spot check at each of these places to see how long a walk-in party of two would have to wait. Obviously, wait times are highly variable depending on a number of factors like weather, holidays, and sheer luck, so intel should be taken with a grain of salt. But some of the answers were a surprise.

5:45, Thursday
Little Serow: No wait
It seemed to be an anomaly that on a Thursday night at 5:45 p.m., a table of two could walk into this hot spot. Usually when walking past at 5 p.m., there's a line that stretches down the block. Perhaps a contributor to the short wait was the frigid weather that stopped diners from braving the line.

Friday, 7:02, 7:07, 7:12
Toki Underground: 3-3.5 hours
A busy line with the first two tries didn't bode well. But this was hardly a surprise given the popularity of the tiny spot.

Friday, 7:03 p.m.
Barmini: No wait
No one answered the phone at Barmini, but a quick check on CityEats showed plenty of open times for a Friday night.

Friday, 7:04 p.m.
Le Diplomate: 2 tables for 2
It was one of the hardest seats to land a year ago, but a call to Le Diplomate at 7:04 on Friday night came back with a positive result.

Friday, 7:07 p.m.
Range: No tables, but seats are available at the bars flanking the kitchen
Diners might not be able to face their dining partners at 7:07, but being able to see what's going to the kitchen will provide a new conversational topic.

Friday, 7:09 p.m.
Del Campo: 2 hours
A quick call revealed a joint that sounded hopping over the phone, and a two hour wait for the meat lovers' paradise.

Friday, 7:11 p.m.
Pearl Dive: 45 minutes
The no reservations restaurant had a 45 minute wait for its oysters and other delicacies.

Friday, 7:13 p.m.
Farmers Fishers Bakers: No wait times provided over the phone, OpenTable opening at 9:15
With its prime location on the Georgetown Waterfront, it's not a surprise that Farmers Fishers Bakers doesn't provide wait times over the phone; it's unpredictable when a large party might visit. A quick check of OpenTable showed no tables available until 9:15.

Friday, 7:15 p.m.
The Cheesecake Factory (Friendship Heights): 20 minutes
Yes, it's a chain. And yes it has factory in the name. But this restaurant always seems to have a wait during prime dinner hours. What does it all mean?
—Jamie Liu

Little Serow

1511 17th Street Northwest, , DC 20036 Visit Website


1119 West Webster Avenue, , IL 60614 (773) 549-5747 Visit Website

Toki Underground

1234 H Street Northeast, , DC 20002 (202) 388-3086 Visit Website

Taco Bamba - Penn Quarter

777 I Street Northwest, Washington , DC 20001 Visit Website