Blog How to Get a Last-Minute Reservation in New York

By Curtis A, 23.09.2022

Welcome to New York City

From the classic Italian restaurant in the downtown district…

To the perfect brunch spot with the girls on Saturday morning…

To the famous New York style pizza parlor you won’t want to miss…

Food is happening in NYC.

And you want a slice of the action! But in a city of almost 8.4 million people, finding a seat at your favorite restaurant is easier said than done. Especially if you’re not planning ahead.

If you’re wondering how to get a reservation in New York City, check out these tips to be sure to get a slice of the pie.

How to Get Last-Minute Reservations in NYC?

Research Like Mad

According to stats from 2019, there were nearly 25,000 restaurants in New York City before the pandemic. Meaning you could eat at a new eatery for breakfast, lunch, and dinner — every day for 22 years — and still have more to explore.

So where do you start?

New York has it all, so knowing what you’re in for tonight helps tremendously.

Are you feeling Italian? Taco truck? Mimosas and brunch? Thai takeout?

Whatever flavor is rocking your world today, there’s likely to be a restaurant for you. The question is…will there be a table for you when you get there?

Start with the first round of decisions: choosing your spot. Then get ready to get creative as you book a reservation.

Go in person

If you’re looking to buy reservations in NYC last minute, it might be a pain trying to find a seat.

With covid restrictions still imposed and a lack of staffing, some restaurants are operating under capacity.

This doesn’t mean getting those seats will be impossible….but we’re not gonna lie, it’s not a walk in Central Park either.

One way to find your seat is to go early and set up your tent. Restaurants typically hold a reservation for 15 minutes before it goes back up for everyone else.

If you’re the kind of person to camp out at the store for a Black Friday deal, this might be your option. Bring some earbuds and something to read, because you might end up being there all night. But if that’s your gig — props to you!

Be sure to go with a granola bar in case things don’t work out. You might try not to get your hopes up too high in case you end up hanging out with your friends in the lobby. But hey! With the right friends, that can be just as fun. Although not quite as delicious.

If you don’t have the time – or the appetite – to wait several hours, try another way.

Yoga-Level Flexibility

Another pro tip is to reschedule your date night, girls trip, or whatever plans brought you out on the town.

This may not be ideal, which is why we still have options for you if you need that last-minute reservation ASAP.

But if your schedule has the flexibility to reschedule for a Tuesday or Wednesday night, you’re way more likely to get a table.

This might not work for everyone, and that’s ok. You have more options.

More than likely, that delicious mushroom souffle is still available on Monday and so is a table for you and your dinner guests. You might be able to avoid the rush and enjoy a more private setting if you can reschedule your weekday plans.

If you’re mostly trying to impress your date though, it’s probably not an option to cancel plans last minute.

You Rang?

If you’re looking for reservations with a larger window of opportunity, it’s best to give these eateries a call somewhere between 2 and 5 pm. This is when they’re most likely to have a vacant table just waiting for you.

However, there’s some unfortunate news – sometimes they don’t always give these last-minute open tables away so easily…

Even if you’re super polite, sometimes these places prefer to avoid haggling last minute cancellations over the phone.

The staff might be holding back tables for specific reasons – eg. parties, catering, short staff. Or they may not be looking to fill empty tables over the phone if it’s in particularly high demand.

It can be a shot in the dark, but hey – it’s worth a shot.

When All Else Fails…

You’ve found the perfect spot! Problem…there’s no room until next month.

It’s a common issue in a city this size, and unfortunately that might mean that you’re left without a table.

EXCEPT for…. The fact that Wuw Wuw exists.

Basically, restaurants can list any cancelled or leftover reservations on Wuw Wuw and make them accessible for diners. This cuts down on lost revenue for local restaurants, and can save the day for you and your guests.

If it’s reeeeeeally important that you get that table tonight, this may be your best option.

Everything in NYC is unpredictable. Meaning that you might just run into a last-minute opportunity.

As plans change, flights get redirected, and dinner out gets traded for a movie night in, those reservations might just open up sooner than you expected.

So don’t give up if you have your heart set on that new Italian restaurant. Just hop on over to Wuw Wuw and see if any tables are getting put back into the queue for you.

You might find just what you were looking for — or better yet, something you’ve always wanted to try but could never get in!

Whatever you want for dinner tonight, we’re hoping that Wuw Wuw can make it happen for you.

Either way, you’ll be saving the day for local businesses and your hungry dinner guests. Sounds like a winner in our book!

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Buy reservation in last-minute