Tallahasseeans love new restaurants. When anything new opens here, the lines are immediately so long you’d think they were giving food away.
It took us more than two months before we could get into the Red Robin on Apalachee for a burger on a Friday night without a 90-minute wait. Is Tallahassee that desperate for a burger?
But the same goes for other new places. They’re slammed. Granted, we’re hampered because my husband refuses to wait in line for more than five minutes, so we tend to either wait till the craziness fades or dine on a Tuesday night.
But it can also pay to wait for another reason. Even though a restaurant may have opened its doors, new places aren’t always operating smoothly at the beginning.
Midtown Caboose, we found, was a delightful exception. That place seemed to competently handle huge crowds from the get-go, but then owners Matthew and Adam Wells are experienced restaurateurs and had their act together.
I’ve been at restaurants that were so overwhelmed by big crowds at the outset that they ran out of food, kept customers waiting for their food way too long or brought out dishes that were colder than a Game of Thrones’ winter.
When I worked for The Miami Herald, we always waited a month or more after an opening to review a place, and we always visited at least twice, because a critic can make or break a restaurant, especially a mom-and- pop operation. (My husband, that guy who won’t stand in line, argues that if a place opens its doors and is charging full prices, it should be ready.)
I get that, but I think if you do rush out to be part of the buzz at an opening, you might want to cut a place some slack, give it another try in a few weeks.
There are several new openings this summer. I’ll be checking them out, and I bet you will, too.
Let’s share our experiences. Any winners, losers in the bunch? Stay in touch!