Early Bird Special

Guest Post By Yolanda Edwards, Travels with Clara

One of our favorite restaurants in NYC is Prune, but the problem is that it’s everyone else’s favorite too. Dinner and brunch are impossible–there’s always a wait, and sometimes even a line down the block. The other night, though, we happened upon a clever idea completely by accident. It was 5pm, we were in the city with our 7-year- old, Clara, and all a little bit hungry. Normally, we’d get a snack, and head home to eat dinner at our usual 7PM time, but we figured this just might be the lucky hour to try Prune — doesn’t 5:30 always seemed to be the reservation option restaurants give you when you request “something for 7:30 or 8?” We were so right. There was only one other table seated and the staff was super friendly. We had the most delicious beef hearts, duck breast, and some kind of strawberry shortcake-ish dessert. Granted, it was not a cheap meal, but we did save on the babysitter, got Clara home by 7:30, and were able to experience one of the best restaurants in New York without any advance planning.

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I used to live three blocks from here and (unlike most of the East Village’s many charms that were entirely wasted on me and my shut-in, teetotalling, smoky-bars-and-live-music-hating ways) I was totally spoiled because I could walk over at 9:45am on Saturday morning and just sit down when it opened. (Bonus: Jake Gyllenhaal also liked to get their early.)

City Share

I have never been to Prune, but have read all sorts of good things about it. Whenever I walk by it’s packed. Good to know that if we head over early, we can get a table no problem. Thanks for the tip.


I know we aren’t New York fashionable but our family eats between 5 and 6 p.m. every night. We started because my little ones couldn’t make it until the later hours without starving and I didn’t want to make two dinners. Sports also played into the equation…soccer at 6:30 doesn’t help. We all have really gotten used to it over the years and seem to like it. We feel better at night and seem to sleep better as well (without full tummies). Empty restaurants are just another reason to love eating early!

Jan (Family Bites)

Great tip! We usually eat a little later because it’s what works for our schedule and allows us to eat as a family, but an earlier dinner sounds like a great idea for the weekends.


We discovered this a few years ago… that 5:30 pm is a time you can take kids to pretty much any nice restaurant in town. Other customers and the staff are much more forgiving for little mishaps at that time than at 7:30 pm! My wife and I were lamenting the days where we’d dine at 8:30 pm and then linger over coffee… ah, well.

Melisa/Shiny Brite

We use the 5:30 dining out trick all the time, but I have to say, I don’t know that I’d be up for trying it at Prune, which is one of my faves, too…. It’s so snug in there, and I’ve got TWO kids! Hard for me to imagine all four of us and me actually enjoying myself — very inspiring, though! Go, you!


We have been using the 5:30-6:00 window for dinner out for quite sometime. Our 16 month old had a lovely dinner at Herbsaint in New Orleans and had a great time watching the restaurant fill up.