On we go with The Gatekeepers, a photo series we've commissioned from Michael Harlan Turkell. For the next several weeks, we'll be presenting portraits of The Gatekeepers: the very folks that stand between you and some of your favorite impossible-to-get tables.
At present, Spotted Pig is ranks high among the very toughest walk-ins in the city (see also, Lupa, Prune, Pastis). At any given time you'll have to talk to one of these fine folks, before waiting an hour or two to sit and eat. From left to right, meet Scott Baker, Anna Selver-Kassell and Francesa Maniace; and in the photo below, Tim Carosi.
Scott: Smallest amount that someone has attempted to tip me is $5, from a nice old man, on a Sunday of all days. Sundays are supposed to be relaxed, and it wasn't a long wait. People offer drinks all the time, it's a lot of concentration when we're busy, one vodka tonic and you're lost. I once had to make my parents wait half and hour.
Making Bill Clinton wait, the verboten "reach over, lean over" and much more are just ahead.
Francesa: If people ask how much (money) I want, to be put I the list, I ask them to pay my student loans, as a joke of course, but if they would, they'd still have to wait. A Goyand bag would be nice too, but I still can't bump you up on the list.
Anna: I don't like when the "flirty semi-drunk guy" thinks chicks get really submissive ...
Francesa: ... especially when they do the "reach over, lean over, point at name on the list" as if that somehow quickens the process, wherein it actually shortens our nerves.
Tim: One time some guy tipped me two dollars. He said "he wanted to make sure I'd remember him," and I do. If a celebrity comes in, they have to wait with everyone else, though if they call in advance we can usually factor in and accommodate, though Bill Clinton came on a whim (with secret service detail and all), and still had to wait about 25 minutes. Magnolia cupcakes are always a good gift. "A well-fed maitre d' is a happy maitre d".
Scott: The best times to come are 530PM, 7PM, and 10PM, and late night. Put your name on the list, take a walk. Four or more wait forever. Come in small groups, otherwise, plan for a wait, and enjoy the neighborhood.