Disclaimer: Yeah...I know it should be on the California board, but it doesn't get much traffic.
Went up to Pismo Beach this weekend, and after a couple of mediocre meals last year at recommended restaurants (Giuseppes and Old Port Inn), decided to venture down to Nipomo and try the legendary Jocko's steakhouse.
Well, before I left I decided to give them a call to see if I needed reservations (this was Thursday, BTW). The friendly hostess suggested I make them, and we had a 7:15 reservation for 3.
On Saturday night, we were getting hungry and decided to go early. I called to see if it would be a problem. Hostess said they were very full, but we could come and they would try to seat us earlier.
We arrived at 7:00.
Outside were at least 30 people milling about. We go inside, try and locate the hostess (there's no formal reception area), find here. She tells us they're running 30-40 minutes late. Have a drink at the bar.
The place is a zoo. But, because we're there, and most other places have waits anyway, we decide to soak up the atmosphere and have a drink at the bar. We meet some locals, have so nice conversation, and find out (at 7:45), that the people we're speaking with had 6:15 reservations, and, obviously, still haven't been seated. My wife goes to the hostess, who informs her that it will be 30-45 minutes more.
At this point, my patience runs out. We leave. Apparently, there is always an hour wait - even WITH a reservation. The main draw, judging by comments I overheard, are the portions (HUGE!!!). Everyone seems to be leaving with a doggie bag.
We end up eating a barely edible meal at Marie Callenders (they're know for their pies?!!?!).
Why do people wait in line like this? In LA, the two places that come to mind are Crazy Fish (BH) and Cheescake Factory - two of the worst dining establishments in the city. I was just in Europe, and I don't believe I waited one minute for a table. Reservations were always honored on time. In this country, restaurant reservations mean little at many joints - both cheap and pricey. They seem to be a ruse to get you in and spend at the bar (Jockos).
Just had to get it off my chest.