Friday, August 03, 2007

Seating "Rules" At The Salty Dog Cafe

I'm not sure how the Salty Dog got so famous (maybe you've seen their t-shirts around) but there is something magnetic about the South Beach Marina and the restaurant and shops that don the name Salty Dog. One restaurant in particular--the Salty Dog Cafe--is the most popular of them all. It boasts a nice selection of entrees (and an even better view) and people will wait a long time (almost as long as the Cheesecake Factory) to have a seat. The unique feature about it is the underlying rules for seating here.

(1) The restaurant at 5pm for dinner so people begin showing up around 4:15.

(2) You get on a line that winds around the building. People who have never been here before are perplexed about why so many people are gathered so early and figure they better get on the line too!

(3) The hostess begins seating at 5pm but explains to almost everyone that they do not fill every table at first because the kitchen and wait staff cannot handle so many people. After about the first hundred people the next few groups receive pagers and are told that they can shop in the surrounding stores for around 20-30 minutes. If you're in one of those groups you feel fortunate because the people after that usually have an hour and a half wait.

Once inside you realize why you've put yourself through the gauntlet. Watching pelicans and egrets fly by as you feast on king crab legs, blackened salmon (or chicken fingers) with a bunch of hard core salty dogs who have gone through the same procedures makes it all worthwhile...and brings you back over and over again...maybe tonight?


PS: If you don't mind sitting at a high table your wait may be shortened a bit.


At 11:31 AM, Blogger The Balla Family said...

The Salty Dog is indeed quite a sociological phenomenon. I mean, here is a decent vacation spot restaurant that has found a way to transform itself into a happening. Not only do they have a separate gift shop that hawks t-shirts of every imaginable variety (except Under Armour), but they also sell pretty much any product you can think of with their logo on it. And people buy it! Including us! On this trip, we have bought a Salty Dog football, a Salty Dog mini-cooler, and a Salty Dog hacky sack. Somebody stop us!



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