In today’s day and age, if you want to have a meal at a particularly popular restaurant, the odds of you being forced to physically stand in line to wait for a table are pretty slim. Most in-demand restaurants take reservations nowadays, and even the ones that don’t will let you check in and then notify you with a text or via a buzzer when your table is ready. But at some restaurants, you wait in line. And when a restaurant is popular enough, people have no trouble waiting for hours for a table. Sure, some of these restaurants are tourist traps or selling the latest Instagram fad, but some restaurants are actually worth waiting in line for. The following 25 restaurants are worth it.
If you’re like most people, you probably have zero patience for much of anything these days, especially if it comes to waiting for a meal. So why do millions of people willfully subject themselves to interminable outdoor waits for food when they could conceivably just go elsewhere, and why are we suggesting that you do the same? In short, because these places are really, really good – legendarily good, historically good – and if you don’t wait on the line, you’re not really getting the full experience.[related]
In assembling this list, we only included restaurants — not bakeries or ice cream shops — because the end result of waiting on these lines should be a meal (or at least substantial enough to count as one), not a Cronut. These places aren’t hawking the latest rainbow-hued trend; by and large they’re venerable institutions (or at least are well on their way) that have staked their claim as must-visits for both locals and tourists alike – they’re local landmarks. And even though you’ll have to line up to experience them, they’re all worth the wait.