Audio postcard: restaurant hosts reveal city’s V-Day foibles

HOST INTRO: Ah, Valentine’s Day. A time for love, passion and…panic. If you’re one of the unlucky few who forgot to nab a restaurant reservation in advance, you’ve likely spent the past week scouring the boroughs for a table. Perhaps you’ve begged. Perhaps you’ve lied. Whatever you’ve done, the city’s restaurant hosts have been on the other end of the phone line. And they’ve heard every word.

GULKA: “Good evening, Balaboosta, this is Ryan.” [0:05]

GULKA: “Hi, my name is Ryan. I’m the assistant manager and matire’ d at Balaboosta.” [0:03]

GULKA: “The phone’s been ringing off the hook pretty much all week and actually last week. It’s just a lot of people last minute reservations, scrounging. It’s kind of a joke within the business, there’s going to be a lot of boyfriends in trouble this coming valentines.” [0:15]

GULKA:  “Well we have a couple where their secretaries will call and try to make the guy very high profile and say ‘Hey this person wants to come to your restaurant…[0:09]

MEZA: “We’ve had, like, ‘I know so and so.’ They start name dropping. Type of things like that. Then I kind of just like roll my eyes and be like, ‘Is so and so coming with you?’” [0:12]

MEZA:  “My name is Eddie and I’m the reservationist for Il Buco, Alimentari and Vineria,” [0:04]

MEZA: “We had a phone call yesterday where the guy was trying to get a party of 2 in for this Friday and I told him all we had was 11:30. And he’s like, ‘Are you sure you don’t have it?’ And I’m like, ‘I’m looking at the books right now. Yes. I am very sure.’ And then he just hung up.” [0:15]

MEZA:  “Other people say like, ‘Oh, it’s not just Valentine’s Day. It’s a birthday or anniversary.” Things like that. They try to do as much as they can to make sure they get their request fulfilled.” [0:08]

MEZA:  “They’re trying to like sway me. And I’m like, it doesn’t happen. Sorry.” [0:04]

ALVARADO: “People if they’re managers at gyms or whatever, they’re like: ‘I’ll offer a free week if you do this for me.’” [0:07]

ALVARADO: “My name is Joey Alvarado and I’m the manager at Bleecker Kitchen and Co. in New York City.” [0:06]

ALVARADO:  “You could tell the person wants the reservation and five minutes later they call back and pretend to be somebody else or whatever…” [0:06]

LEFOLD: “They’ll usually say that they made the reservation on the phone or online and we can’t find it. And you never know who’s telling the truth or not.” [0:07]

LEFOLD: “My name is Tania LeFold and I’m a server at Tartinery.” [0:03]

LEFOLD: “Who goes out to dinner on Valentine’s Day anyway, right? You know it’s going to be so busy. You might as well just stay home, have some home cooked dinner and some wine.” [0:08]

MEZA: “I’ve decided I’m never going out for Valentine’s Day ever again. I will go out the day before. I will go out the day after. But never on Valentine’s Day.” [0:07]

Back Announce: That audio postcard was produced by Avi Wolfman-Arent.

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