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If you arrive at Bad Saint on a typical Sunday around 8:30 or 9 p.m., chances are the wait will be more than an hour—if there are even any seats left for the evening at all.
But several weeks ago, co-owner Genevieve Villamora noticed something strange.
“It was hard not to notice,” she says. “It seemed like a regular Sunday. We were just kind of going, going, going, turning, turning, and then my waitlist dropped off at 8:30. It was like looking over a cliff into the abyss, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, what is going on?!’… It was like a western when you walk through the middle of town, and there’s nobody there.”
And then she realized: It was the season 6 premiere of Game of Thrones.
Subsequent weeks haven’t been quite as empty, but this is good news for anyone who isn’t addicted to the HBO show or can handle waiting until the next day to watch it. (Tough call, I know.) For the past several Sundays, Villamora says most guests who arrive around 9 p.m. when the show starts are seated right away or don’t have to wait more than 15 minutes.
Villamora has started sharing this little secret with diners at the door when they ask for advice on getting in without the wait. “The people who watch Game of Thrones are like, ‘Oh. That doesn’t really help me.’”
No other show has had the same effect on the 25-seat Filipino restaurant that’s been open for eight months. The only broadcasts that come close? The occasional Pigskins game and, of course, the president’s State of the Union Address. Villamora says she’s talked to folks from other restaurants around town who’ve noticed a similar drop on Sunday evenings.
“I was cursing the name of Game of Thrones on the first evening,” Villamora says. “But I would have been watching it as well if I didn’t have to work.”