Category: Uncategorized

Upcoming: Graduation 2018

RED dining room

Graduation weekend is a busy time in downtown Madison. We take reservations for graduation weekend three months in advance. All bookings are open for Friday May 11th and Saturday May 12th as of Monday, February 19th. If you have questions regarding reservations for this weekend ahead of time, please call 608-294-1234 or send an e-mail to our office manager Alejandra Perez at Please read the expectations for this busy weekend below. We look forward to hearing from you!

Guidelines for Booking

Please note that graduation weekend is a busy time for all guests in downtown Madison. To ensure impeccable service and a wonderful evening out, please be on time for your reservation and communicate any changes as they may occur. Due to the busy-ness of this weekend and our desire to be able to accommodate as many graduates and their families as possible, we will not be accommodating any 25+, large, and/or private bookings.
RESERVATIONS ARE OPEN STARTING at 9 a.m. on Monday, February 19th and are based on a first come, first served basis. We do anticipate the phone lines will be busy. Multiple hosts will be on hand to take these. Once they are full, we will commence our wait list, which you can read about below. We will be actively checking our voicemail while receiving calls, so as to make sure no one is missed. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we try our best to accept as many reservations as possible.

If You Leave a Voicemail

When leaving a voicemail, please give your full name, telephone number with area code, group size, date, and reservation time that you hope for. Please keep in mind that if you leave a voicemail for a reservation, that reservation is not made until confirmed by a manager or a host. All reservations for that weekend will be on a first come, first serve basis. You may make reservations over the phone or in person. Reservations made by e-mail will not be accepted.

Cancellation Policy / Changing Reservation

All reservations for graduation weekend will require a credit card number to hold the spot. You have 24 hours prior to your reservation to make cancellations. Any no-call, no-shows will be subject to a fee of $25 per person. If you have a change in party size, you must notify us at least 2 weeks in advance. As it is more difficult to increase party sizes due to limited seating, it is best to book your reservation for the maximum number of guests you might expect. There is no penalty for downsizing a reservation group size.

Day Of  Your Reservation

Please call if you anticipate you are going to be late. A late arrival may end up in forfeiture of your reservation slot. Contacting the host immediately is important during this busy weekend.

Reservation Wait List

Should reservations be full for graduation weekend when you call, you may add your name, group size, and desired time to our Reservation Wait List. We call guests on this list in the event that another guest cancels. Because of this list, anyone who already has a reservation may not give their reservation time slot away to family or friends. 



RED and our management team appreciates your understanding of our procedures in ensuring an amazing graduation weekend. These guidelines, again, are set in place to guarantee and wonderful experience for the graduate and their families. Pleaes keep in mind we will still be accepting walk-ins during this time! We look forward to sharing this very special weekend with all of you. We are so proud of our UW Badgers!


Written by Alejandra Perez
RED Social Media Coordinator,
Office Manager, Web Coordinator

How To: Reservations & Wait Lists

Everyone is going out for a very special birthday celebration. You’ve been pinned with the task of finding the restaurant. Your cousin’s favorite food in the world is sushi. You call on a Tuesday for a Friday night reservation. Group size 4. Reservations are full. What do you do?

First, this situation brings up a lot of questions. Why can’t we make a reservation? How do you still take walk-ins if all of your reservations are full?
Each restaurant is different. At RED, we reserve a specific number of seats per evening per time frame. For example, we reserve a certain number of guests from 4:30-5:15 and so forth. Once those slots are full, each guest who comes in afterwards is a walk-in guest. These guests are welcome to tables that are first come, first served. This is so the night plays out smoothly. Each guest who walks in through the door is considered. No one is ever turned away.
A waitlist is created when all tables in the restaurant have been seated. How do we determine a wait time for guests? Very carefully! If a table of 2 is seated, we have an average time of 1.5 hours for their dining experience. Larger groups have a longer average. Some people do dine quicker than others. We watch the tables closely to see where they are at in their dining experience. With a little math, we can calculate roughly from when they were seated to when you walked in and determine roughly how long the wait will be. It also depends on how many guests are ahead of you already waiting on the list. Our hosts are trained to give you a “window wait time,” which means if they will give you a time range in order to keep things less specific.

Too much technical information? Need advice instead?

Being prepared for anything can be very helpful. You may call 10-15 minutes before you plan to come in and we’ll let you know if there is a wait or not. If so, you may come in and  join the wait list as well as grab drinks and an appetizer at our full service cocktail bar. If the bar is full, we do have a rail along our windows facing W. Washington Ave. that you can set items on. Good company, patience, and atmosphere make for everything.
You also do not have to be present while you wait. Explore State St., grab a drink elsewhere, or take a walk if the weather is nice. We will send you a text message, with your permission, informing you that your table is ready. We hold this table for 15 minutes. If you can’t make it back, we’ll keep you on the list and try you again when the next table opens up.
Our wait list at RED requires you to be present to put down your name. This makes things fair for those who do not think to call head. But why are there three tables that have been open for the last ten minutes? We are checking in with other guests assigned to the wait list prior to you to see if they are able to take the table or it is being held for a reservation.
Each of us at RED loves dining out. Amazing food, great drinks, quality time with loved ones, and atmosphere are important to each of us. If your name is on the list, whether it be the reservation list or wait list, your spot is guaranteed. Here are our tips for approaching dining with out a reservation:
  1. Stay determined – You’ve got your name on the wait list, so it’s definitely going to happen. If you love the food a restaurant is serving, a good meal is worth the wait.
  2. Stay relaxed – Enjoy the space around you. You’re off the clock, you’re with good company, you’re out on the town and ready to enjoy yourself. Take a moment to soak in the night life.
  3. Don’t fret – Keep an eye on the time and check in with the host as the time gets around 10 minutes left. At RED we have a timer on our OpenTable software that alerts us if we’re going over. It doesn’t hurt to check in in order to ease your mind. Having you dine in is the most important thing to us.
  4. Be flexible – Sometimes table seating can take longer, so why not grab a sushi bar or high top spot? Flexibility with seating options means more chances to be seated sooner.
We hope you find this guide helpful as you approach your next busy weekend. Please remember you may always call to make a reservation: 608-294-1234. For questions and concerns, our lead host Emily Mc. is in Wednesday – Friday starting at 2:30 p.m. and Saturdays – Sunday starting at 3 p.m. You are still welcome to call any time that is convenient for you.
Your dining experience is important to us. Let us know your thoughts on how you beat a crazy dinner rush at
Written by Alejandra Perez
RED Social Media Coordinator,
Office Manager, Web Coordinator