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Eat and Drink

Franklin Barbecue, Rose's Luxury and more destination restaurants

New York isn’t the only city that has buzzy food destinations signified by long lines of hungry patrons.

Thanks to a combination of no-reservation policies and hyped restaurants, cities across the country have their own version of Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, Dominique Ansel Bakery and, recent additions to the foodie fold, Black Tap, 10Below Ice Cream and The Bagel Store (home to the viral Rainbow Bagel).

Here’s where tourists and locals alike (or their TaskRabbiters) are lining up.

Franklin Barbecue: Austin, Texas

Texas, especially Austin, is not lacking for barbecue
Photo Credit: Eric Ellis

Texas, especially Austin, is not lacking for barbecue spots. But meat lovers will stand in line for up to five hours on a Saturday for a taste of Aaron Franklin's slow-cooked brisket. About a month after first opening in 2009, the restaurant started noticing a line forming. "At that time, we considered that to be amazing, but the line has only gotten longer over the past six years," says co-owner Stacy Franklin. Doors open at 11 a.m. and close whenever the Franklins sell out -- that's usually between 2 and 3 p.m. If you don't feel like waiting five hours, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays tend to be "slower," Stacy says, "but we do still have people line up before we open." Closed Mondays; 900 E. 11th St., franklinbarbecue.com

Rose's Luxury: Washington, D.C.

When this no-reservations restaurant announced it was going
Photo Credit: T. Tseng via Flickr

When this no-reservations restaurant announced it was going to start offering limited reservations for groups of six to eight back in November, it was news. That's because just a month after opening in October 2013, the restaurant started drawing long lines of patrons down the block. Walk-ins start lining up as early as 3:30 p.m. on weekends to dine on the small spot's ambitious plates (the pork sausage, lychee salad and house-smoked brisket are must-haves, recommends general manager Michael Richmond). Peak wait times are Saturday nights, naturally, with a four-hour wait typical by 5:45 p.m. (doors open at 5 p.m.). Avoid the weekend crush and you're more likely to get a table at 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, as long as your entire party is there, says Richmond. If you're not seated right away, your name goes on the waitlist and you're texted when your table is available. Don't stray far and grab a drink at the upstairs bar, where it is also possible to order dinner (that's another list). On the fence? Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema deemed it worth the wait in his review of the Capitol Hill restaurant. Closed Sundays; 717 Eighth St. SE, 202-580-8889, rosesluxury.com

Pizzeria Beddia: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

At first glance, this three-year-old pizzeria doesn't seem
Photo Credit: Joe Beddia via Twitter

At first glance, this three-year-old pizzeria doesn't seem worth the hassle, especially to New Yorkers, who have their pick of wait-worthy pizza. It's open only four days a week for five hours at a time, there's no phone, no seats, no bathroom, no slices, it's cash only and they make just 40 pizzas a night. But the buzz is strong for pizza maker Joe Beddia's pies, which Bon Appetit heralded as the best in America for its crispy-chewy crust and perfect sauce-cheese-toppings ratio. Pizza purists line up as early as 4 p.m. for a taste (doors open at 5:30 p.m.), and if you're more than 30 people deep, you're likely already out of luck. There may be no phone, but Beddia is on Twitter (@pizzacamp), where he tweets updates about that night's supply. Closed Sunday-Tuesday; 115 E. Girard Ave., pizzeriabeddia.wordpress.com

State Bird Provisions: San Francisco, California

This Michelin-starred, four-year-old restaurant actually does take reservations,
Photo Credit: Katherine Lynch via Flickr

This Michelin-starred, four-year-old restaurant actually does take reservations, but they're really hard to get -- a full day's worth of reservations become available for 60 days in the future each day at midnight (that's PST), and go fast. The critic darling, which started drawing crowds after Bon Appetit named it Best New Restaurant in 2012, does save seats for walk-ins, including in the dining room and at its chef's counter, on a first-come, first-serve basis each night. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. daily -- but the line starts forming before then, often as early as 4 p.m. on weekends (there's no signage for the spot, so just look for the line). By 6 p.m., the line typically disappears, but several seatings are usually booked by then. If you're not seated right away, you're put on a waitlist and called when your table is ready, leaving you time to grab a drink nearby. (You can skip the line and try showing up around 9:30 p.m. on weeknights and 10:30 p.m. on weekends, in case a walk-in cancels, suggests guest relations manager Katherine Pisarro-Grant.) Once seated, order small plates from the menu (like the namesake dish -- buttermilk fried quail with lemon-rosemary onions and shaved Parmigiano-Regianno) or grab specials that are carted by, dim sum-style. For dessert, the genmaicha "ice cream" sandwich is a must. For a sure thing, you can more easily make reservations at the owners' next-door sister restaurant, The Progress. 1529 Fillmore St., 415-795-1272, statebirdsf.com

Breakfast Klub: Houston, Texas

The notorious weekend lines have gotten better at
Photo Credit: Meredith Deliso

The notorious weekend lines have gotten better at this kooky breakfast spot once it started running a sister restaurant next door (they now wrap around the block at peak times instead of snake around the parking lot). The Signature Kafe is open Friday through Sunday and specializes in its, yes, signature dishes -- catfish and grits and wings and waffles -- as well as cocktails like margaritas and mimosas. But for the full menu, and bragging rights, you'll have to head to the original, which opened back in 2001. Make it an early start -- the restaurant opens at 8 a.m. on the weekends, with lines starting even earlier, and closes up shop every day at 2 p.m. Waits can typically be at least 30 minutes, but the line moves fast, and you receive a menu before you sit down so you don't waste any time ordering (but really, get the wings and waffles). 3711 Travis St., 713-528-8561, thebreakfastklub.com

Cafe du Monde: New Orleans, Louisiana

The New Orleans region has eight Cafe du
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Chris Graythen

The New Orleans region has eight Cafe du Mondes, but for many, the only one really worth going to is the original, which opened in the French Quarter's French Market way back in 1862. The coffee stand is not just a breakfast destination -- you can buy its French-style doughnuts, beignets (three for $2.72), and chicory coffee 24 hours a day, 364 days a year (it's closed Christmas Day). Even though it usually looks intimidatingly long, especially during breakfast time, the line moves fast, thanks to there being just one food item on the menu. The wait is usually 15 minutes to get inside, but you can expect that to be longer when Mardi Gras and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival are in full swing. "We're the barometer of how many people are in town," says Burt Benrud, general manager for Cafe du Monde. 800 Decatur St., 504-525-4544, cafedumonde.com

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