Got A Few Hours To Spare? 15 Iconic Eateries That Always Have A Wait

No matter where you are, you can probably find food that will be ready plenty quickly. But, despite that, there are no shortage of spots around the country where hungry people are willing to wait (and wait, and wait, and wait...) for just about any meal of the day.

While some might wonder, for example, if camping out for brisket in one of the barbecue capitols of the world is really worth it, the question might be besides the point. Do we ask the tide why it rises? And still, like rivers running down stream or the rising sun, the crowds keep lining up for bites of cronut or pizza.

Ahead, 15 iconic eateries across the country where waiting in line is half the experience. What spot would you add to the list?
Advertisement
1 of 16
Photo: Via @rosesluxury.
Rose's Luxury, Washington, D.C.
At Rose's Luxury, getting your name on the list for dinner is half the wait. People show up as early as 3 p.m. to make sure there's even a table for them to wait for. There's even a TaskRabbiter or two every day doing the waiting.
2 of 16
Photo: via @dominiqueansel.
Dominiqe Ansel Bakery, NYC
Not satisfied to just have people lining up down the block just in the wee morning hours for cronuts, Dominiqe Ansel soon added cookie shots available at 3 p.m. as an afternoon snack. Now, you can find lines waiting behind the restaurant's rope barriers twice a day.
Advertisement
3 of 16
Photo: Courtesy of Franklin Barbecue.
Franklin Barbecue, Austin, TX
A bucket list destination for barbecue lovers, Franklin Barbecue doesn't even have a closing time. They're opened from 11 a.m. until "sold out" — and trust us, they always are.
4 of 16
Photo: Via @blacktapnyc.
Black Tap, NYC
When Black Tap's over-the-top milkshakes became an official internet obsession last January, the restaurant had to set up rope barriers on the sidewalk for people willing to wait for their own moment of Insta-glory.
5 of 16
Photo: via @sammybsong.
Prince's Hot Chicken, Nashville, TN
Until about 10 years ago, hot chicken wasn't much known outside of Nashville. These days, however, people around the country know what you mean when you ask about Nashville hot chicken. Of course, that means more and more places to buy hot chicken. But that hasn't stopped locals and tourists alike from pouring into Prince's, one of the original purveyors of mouth-numbingly spicy fried chicken.
6 of 16
Photo: via @yunmi906.
Pink's, L.A.
In business for 77 years, Pink's has endeared itself to generations of Los Angelenos — enough that they're willing to wait in line to get one of Pink's iconic hotdogs. If you can't make it to SoCal yourself, you're out of luck — but you can view its wall of celebrities remotely.
7 of 16
Photo: Courtesy of Pizzeria Beddia.
Pizzeria Beddia, Philadelphia, PA
People have been known to center their entire days around the wait for a pizza at Pizzeria Beddia. The two-person operation opens at 5:30 p.m. and only makes 40 pizzas a night. It's not cheap (a regular pie with no topping starts at $20 and serves two), but Bon Appetite also declared it the best pie in America, and it's hard to place a price tag on that.
Advertisement
8 of 16
Photo: Courtesy of Au Cheval.
Au Cheval, Chicago, IL
Au Cheval's no-reservations policy has Chicagoans waiting for hours for a bite of its towering burger. These days, they even use an app to let you know your place in line. If you want to avoid a wait altogether, we'd suggest trying to stop by the next time the Cubs are in the World Series — it may be the only way.
9 of 16
Photo: Via @_sandralai.
Bi-Rite, San Fransisco, CA
On a nice day (and even in the middle of winter), there's almost a guaranteed wait at this beloved Mission ice cream spot. But there's a reason people are wiling to queue up no matter the weather for Bi-Rite. Hand-crafted flavors like Earl Grey and orange cardamom are hard to find just anywhere.
10 of 16
Voodoo Doughnut, Portland, OR
Voodoo Doughnut's eye-catching display of cereal-covered, pentagram-iced, and even penis-shaped doughnuts have tourists lining up for over an hour when it gets busy. For a short time in 2011, a local paper even kept a Voodoo Doughnut traffic report.
11 of 16
Photo: via @sweetnseattle.
Paseo Caribbean Food, Seattle, WA
Since 1994, Seattleites have been willing to wait in lines that go down the block for a bite of Paseo's iconic sandwiches. Of course, appearances on shows like Anthony Bourdain's Layover have helped ensure lines are reliably long. Search discussion boards long enough, however, and you can glean some tips: they take call-ahead orders, and, of course, try to go by on off hours.
12 of 16
Photo: via mercantilemtl.
Pizzeria Bianco
Another contender for best pizza in America, Pizzeria Bianco has people showing up well before the 5:00 p.m. opening time for a table. Thankfully, the next door Bar Bianco will keep you entertained (and drinking) while you wait.
Advertisement
13 of 16
Photo: via @disclosure.
Mother's, New Orleans, LA
New Orleans has no shortage of world-famous restaurants (and opportunities to wait in line for them), but Mother's has remained a staple for almost 80 years. Aside from the world's best baked ham, they also serve po' boys, gumbo, and fried chicken and seafood galore.
14 of 16
Photo: Via @olivia_mckee.
Al's Breakfast, Minneapolis, MN
Reportedly the narrowest restaurant in Minneapolis, the limited counter space at Al's Breakfast doesn't stop people from lining up to grab a bite before its 1pm close time. With only 14 stools, the folks at Al's Breakfast are used to enforcing line rules: you can't even get in line till your entire party is there, and they guarantee you will get yelled at if you leave the door open in the winter, since "The cold Minnesota air will cool off other customers' waffles."
15 of 16
Photo: via @christophermason.
Tito's Tacos, L.A.
Devotees of Tito's Tacos have come to expect long wait times. But if you're craving one of the crunchy tacos and are short on time, you can always order online. One caveat: there's a $75 minimum order, and with the prices at Tito's, that's going to buy you a lot of tacos.
16 of 16
Advertisement