Have you ever tried to make a fine dining reservation for two, day of, on a holiday? If you have, then image trying to make a reservation for 25 day of, but just in the summer in a beach tourist town. If you’re thinking this sounds easy, then you’ve obviously never tried to do it!
11 AM: Starting the Reservation “Search”
The plan was to show up at Gaido’s around 7 p.m. with our party of whoever wanted to go, wait a little while and then sit down and eat. When my mom heard this, she immediately suggested a reservation be made. She asked me to call and check on the availability and get a headcount of everyone that wanted to go.
Shortly before 11 a.m., I tried to call Gaido’s, but they opened at 11 a.m. and the phone rang and rang. Once finally reaching someone, they said a manager would need to call me back and when they did, it wasn’t with good news. There was an event going on in town and they had two larger parties like ours that had called and made a reservation. They told us we could come in and wait, but could not give us a time frame for anything. Even splitting our parties would not guarantee us a reservation.
It was then I realized, I had my work cut out for me. Here’s a list of the restaurants I contacted:
Rudy & Paco Restaurant & Bar, Almost a Winner
I had actually secured a reservation at Rudy & Paco pretty easy. After speaking with the person who handles large parties we were getting off the phone and she said (paraphrasing), “Oh, by the way. We have a dress code. No shorts are allowed.” This included children and my sister had previously mentioned she hadn’t packed any pants for her son. We were at the beach in Texas after all. That’s just the one person I knew that would be a problem for, and I’m sure there would have been others. I unfortunately did have to call them back to cancel after speaking with my mom and the person who answered the phone was so nice about it. He even offered to lend us one size, fits all mens pants, but they only had one pair. I would have loved to see my dad in those!
The Steakhouse and Grotto Ristorante
Next up was The Steakhouse. I was shot down almost immediately. Their space wasn’t large enough to accommodate our party and their current reservations. Next was Grotto, which I surprisingly got the same person on the phone even though I called a different number. But come to find out they were both at the San Luis Resort and the same person was handling the incoming calls. I wasn’t shot down immediately, but the manager wasn’t in and would need to call me back around 3 p.m. when he arrived.
Galvez Bar and Grill, Almost a Winner #2
I had my second reservation for the day secured! Galvez Bar and Grill was confident they could take our reservation and feed us around the time we were wanting! They needed to double check with the kitchen to make sure everything would be fine, and then they would call me back. But when they called me back, they had a big but for me. They would need to do a set menu, for some that wouldn’t be an issue and I’m sure if we had planned ahead we could have adjusted the menu to our liking. Sadly, it just wasn’t going to work for our group.
3 PM: The Reservation is Secured
That’s right folks. It took about four hours for me to secure a restaurant reservation for 25. When Grotto’s manager called me back after arriving for the evening, to say I was excited would be an understatement. Some of our family had already left for the week and more were going to be leaving the next day, so this was really our last chance to all eat together as a family!
Click here to read about our dining experience at Grotto Ristorante!
Travel Tip #17: Plan a Big Family Dinner Out – Ahead of Time
I don’t think this one even needed to be stated. If you have a multi-family vacation planned, set aside one day and let all of the family members know, this will be the day you will all go out! Then, when it comes to making a reservation, you’ve planned ahead, gotten your headcount, secured a reservation days in advance and minimize your stress, day of! Also, it’s always fun to have your whole family go out to a nice place for dinner every so often!
Landry’s Seafood House
Another option that we didn’t try for was Landry’s Seafood House, but that was because half of us had already eaten at Landry’s during our vacation. Their Chicken Alfredo was delicious and I enjoyed it a lot more than my own dish which was the fried seafood platter. It was just too much fried food and that being the reason I didn’t care for it surprised me. Our service was slow, but every other staff member we came in contact with was friendly. I would recommend Landrys for large parties and as a finer dining option!
Hi friends! This is one post of my blog series for Surfside Beach! Be sure to checkout all the great blogs I will be posting for this multi-family vacation here. Also, don’t be shy! Let me know if you’ve been to Surfside Beach and what you loved and *gasp* hated!