10.22.2013: The Wait List / Chipotle


Pizzeria Delfina’s Wait List Has a Camera

If you’ve ever sampled the Purgatorio pizza at San Francisco’s Pizzeria Delfina, you know it’s worth the (sometimes hour-long) wait. Spicy tomato sauce, pecorino romano cheese and two eggs… seriously this, and the rest of the menu, really, is the stuff of deliciousness. The wait to sit down at one of the few seats in the 18th Street gem can test even the most loyal fan (though they will serve you wine on the sidewalk, so at least there’s that). But now, if you’re nearby, you can time your entrance based on the length of the waitlist, as written on the chalkboard by the door. Pizzeria Delfina installed a camera [scroll down] that live-streams the board, so you can time your entrance to suit a shorter wait.

In reality, the popularity of the place renders this mostly useless, unless you live, or are hanging out, next door (though, there is a mobile app so if you can find a signal, you’re in luck.) That said, it’s worth checking in every so often, if only to detect wait list patterns and predictable short-wait times. (I have my system, but I’ll never share.) They’ll also circle your name if you’re on the list and have been called, so if you’re lucky enough to be watching from a nearby location, you can hightail it back to claim your seat. Check it out here.


Reserve Your Spot in a Restaurant Queue

Hm, seems like the dreaded restaurant waiting list seems like an area in need of disruption this week. Next up: NoWait, an app that promises to let you add your name to a restaurant’s waitlist remotely. The product, which appears to have a stronger use for restaurants than patrons, currently, recently started testing the new featurein Pittsburgh restaurants. There’s an iPhone app, but any smartphone user can use the web app via mobile browser.

I guess this is interesting? I’m curious how it differs from placing a mobile reservation… perhaps because the estimated wait time is assumed to be shorter than placing an actual reservation? This would be great for social situations like dates or group dinners that plan to choose a last-minute destination, or a group that doesn’t want to leave the bar and wait 30 minutes for a table before ordering their next beer. (We’ve all been there.) We’ll see if this one takes off.

illustration by April V. Walters
illustration by April V. Walters


The Best Filters for Your Food Photography

Mobile food photography is a challenging animal. The best (pro) food photographers spend a lot of time and energy on lighting, placement, and the correct shot angle. Amateur food photography tends, as a generalization, to look a bit… brown. As the cameras on our mobile phones improve, our ability to capture an especially delicious dinner or fantastically constructed dessert gets a bit easier, but keeping food from looking like a giant pile of brown mush is still a constant challenge. A recent piece on The Savory details the currently available Instagram filters, and how they’ll make your food photography a little bit better.

Descriptions are cheeky but true, calling out which filters will properly enhance a photo (“Mayfair,” for example, should only be used in well-lit situations and never for dishes with more than one component. “Valencia” evokes a hangover). The list is quite thorough and quite useful; worth a look if you ever take and post food photographs to your Instagram feeds. (And, honestly, who among us isn’t guilty of that?)


Chipotle Sponsors ‘Food for Thought’ on HuffPo

Huffington Post Food launched a new arm yesterday: Food for Thought. The section will cover food policy and politics, with a strong focus on well-being and sustainability. The section is completely brought to you by and in partnership with, Chipotle. That’s right, the fast-food-that-doesn’t-want-to-seem-fast-food chain is sponsoring a policy-charged section on an already argumentative “news” site. Logical next step after that factory farming video, I guess?

I am not one to decry mass communication about food safety, policy, and sustainability, so this feels like a good thing. I am concerned about how much influence Chipotle will have over the content. They’re launching with a serious roster of heavy-hitters, so keep an eye on this section for quality content. I just wish it wasn’t tainted with a big, fat, corporate sponsorship.


@FDAfood on Twitter

New! News about food safety and policy direct from the FDA, only on Twitter. The FDA recently launched @FDAfood, where it will post news and information about food, nutrition, additives, and dietary supplements. (If you want more generalized FDA info, you can find that @US_FDA.) The information in the new account is more consumer-friendly than the general FDA account, so if you’re into that sort of thing (and really, we should all be into this sort of thing), it’s worth a follow.


  • Six different ways to write a dish on a restaurant menu. So rad. — Bon Appetit
  • If Subway made sandwiches based on the NYC subway — GrubStreet
  • A just-launched “professional community for the restaurant industry” — In the Weeds

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