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Reservations get easier with OpenTable.com
June 27, 2007
By Jennifer Chandler

Reservations at favorite restaurants get easier

By Jennifer Chandler
Special to The Commercial Appeal

June 27, 2007

Have you ever made a dinner reservation online? I have to admit that I haven't yet, but I just discovered OpenTable.com and I think I am going to give it a try.

The program allows customers to make reservations at any time of day or night (no need to wait till the restaurant opens at 5 p.m.) and lets you make special requests such as your favorite table or server. The service is free to customers.

OpenTable.com lists 24 restaurants in town that currently allow customers to make reservations. The selection ranges from Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in East Memphis to Downtown dining hot spots such as Stella and Encore.

When I walked into a packed Spindini the other night, I saw the hostess was using OpenTable to manage the dining room seating.

Chef/owner Judd Grisanti says that close to 50 percent of his customers use the Internet to make reservations. "Our clientele really loves OpenTable," Grisanti said. "The other day a customer not only made a reservation for his important business meeting but also made a request for the chef to stop by and say hello in order to impress his guests."

Food for the soul

Southern Foodways Alliance president John T. Edge and University of Mississippi filmmaker Joe York will present an exclusive screening of York's film "Above the Line: Saving Willie Mae's Scotch House" on Friday at 7 p.m. at The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.

The film tells the story of the destruction of 91-year-old Willie Mae Seaton's award-winning Scotch House restaurant during Hurricane Katrina. In the past year and a half since the storm, a group of volunteers from the Southern Food Alliance, led by Oxford restaurateur John Currence, has worked to rebuild this New Orleans landmark.

The screening will be followed by a tasting of soul food provided by Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken and other local restaurants at the Brushmark restaurant.

Tickets are $10 for Brooks members and $20 for non-members. Advance reservations are strongly recommended and can be purchased online at brooksmuseum.org or by calling 544-6208.

A sampling of chefs

The celebration of 30 years continues at La Tourelle.

On Sunday at 7 p.m., a chef tasting dinner features Jeff Dunham of The Grove Grill; Erling Jensen of Erling Jensen: The Restaurant; Jackson Kramer of Interim; Chris Dollar of Galler Wholesale Distributor; and Mike Northern, Chef de Cuisine of La Tourelle. Each chef will prepare one of the five courses.

It's $65 per person, excluding tax and tip. A pairing of five wines will be available for an additional $35. For reservations, call 726-5771.

Attention all cake decorators

The 2008 Wilton Cake Yearbook Decorating Book ($10.99) was just released this week. Not yet available online, Mary Carter Decorating Center, 3205 Summer Ave., has copies in stock.

Registration is underway for the fall decorating class for beginners. I took the class and learned so much. Class size is limited to 10, so call 452-1233 soon to save your spot.

Paulette's adds popular specials to menu

Paulette's has added some of its most popular specials to the regular menu. Next time you're in, look for Trout Paschal, their version of trout meuniere, and Mediterranean Chicken, boneless breasts sauteed with tomatoes, olives, capers and pine nuts.

Please share your fabulous food finds and restaurant news with me at jennifer@cookwithjennifer.com.

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