Some Secrets to Securing a Spot at The Catbird Seat



The Catbird Seat has been garnering a whole lot of buzz lately, and deservedly so. Chefs Erik Anderson and Josh Habiger continue to be recognized as some of the best and brightest young chefs in the country and the 32 seats in the restaurant remain filled. But it's not impossible to get a reservation; you just have to know how.

The reservation system at The Catbird Seat is designed to be as fair as possible to anyone who wants to book a seat at the table. Spots are opened up for exactly 30 days out every night at midnight, so you might want to have a cup of coffee with dinner to stay up late for your best chance. Contrary to rumors that I've heard, the restaurant isn't booked two months in advance, because they don't even take reservations that far out.

The restaurant does accept names for a waiting list in case there are cancellations, but in most cases they prefer to allow those spots to be filled through their regular online system. So don't be afraid to check occasionally for a date less than a month out in case a spot opens up. They also publicize openings from time to time on their Twitter account or that of their parent company, Strategic Hospitality. If you do want to be placed on the wait list for a specific date, you are invited to drop them an email at Don't worry, Anna told me it was fine to give out that email, so don't think that I know the key to the velvet rope.

All that being said, The Catbird Seat is gonna be a tough table to get for the next few weeks. The chefs have been invited to the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colo., and also to cook at the acclaimed Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tenn. Because of these events, The Catbird Seat will be closed from June 14-16 and June 21-23. To make up for these closings, The Catbird Seat will be open all Tuesdays in June, unlike most weeks. After all that traveling, the staff is taking a much-deserved vacation the week of July 4, but the schedule should get back to normal (which is to say crazy) after that.

A quick personal suggestion, if you get a chance to select the time of evening for your seating, I'd go for as early a reservation as possible. And not just because I'm old and want to get home in time for Matlock.

Since each course is prepared specially for each diner, if you eat early you have the opportunity to be surprised by what's coming rather than having already seen it on your neighbor's plate. The chefs also have more time to interact earlier in the evening before things get more hectic. Lastly, if you're particularly intrigued by a dish, you can watch it be prepared again for later diners. A dinner at The Catbird Seat is a special experience that should be on any local gourmet's bucket list. While not everybody may not like every dish, the care and expertise that goes into their preparation is definitely worth staying up until midnight to grab a spot at the table.

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