Serious Eats

How Long Would You Wait in Line for Food?

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[Photograph: Erin Zimmer]

Certain eateries are pretty much guaranteed to have a line—an omnipresent one. Maybe a thunderstorm will shave off a few minutes from the time suck, but you should still plan on packing a book, a chatty companion, or just text back everyone you've had a missed call from since forever ago while waiting. Grimaldi's pizzeria on a sunny weekend afternoon: easily an hour-plus. Same with Shake Shack.

Dottie's True Blue Cafe in San Francisco is another such place. The 40-seat diner serves breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., but on any given weekend, you can bet there will be more people queued up outside than actually noshing on omelettes and blueberry cornmeal pancakes inside. On Saturday morning I joined the caboose of the line at 9:10 a.m., and it was an hour before I was finally ordering.

"Don't worry, it's real good," one lady said on her way out, clearly reading the hunger pangs on every face. Real good, but worth-an-hour-real-good? My omelette with lamb sausage, big spinach leaves, and creamy goat cheese pockets was plenty satisfying, and the service was speedy and friendly, but you just sort of feel like a sucker standing for that long, barely inching forward, ogling at the seated diners through the one front window. Even if you do get to hear every juicy detail of the dude behind you's love life.

What's the longest you've waited? Did it feel worth it?

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