The One Who Keeps the Book Philadelphia
How to Get Into Philadelphia’s Most Sought-After Steakhouse
Sometimes you just need a classic steakhouse experience. We’re talking leather booths, dark wood paneling, and dry-aged beef sliced tableside.
Alpen Rose is your spot — sort of. At just 50 seats, scoring a seat might be difficult, so we spoke with the VP of Operations Kareem McCafferty to set the stage and help shed some light on how to get into the restaurant. Born and raised in Philadelphia, McCafferty has been with the restaurant group for three years and has been working in the industry for 20. Right this way.
Resy: How many seats are there at Alpen Rose?
There are 12 tables and four bar seats. The booths are flexible — but can fit 50 comfortably.
Of all the places to sit in the restaurant, what do you think is the best seat in the house?
That’s a tough one. I’d say table 7 — there are four large booths when you walk in, and it’s the booth on the furthest corner to the right when you walk in through the front door. It’s one of the larger booths, and if you sit right in the corner you have a good snapshot of the dining room. You can see the kitchen, the bar, the host stand — everything.
When do reservations drop on Resy?
30 days out — they’re open to the public.
How quickly do seats get booked out?
Within 12 hours typically. It’s such a small restaurant, as soon as they open out, we’re pretty booked.
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Are any of the seats in the restaurant held for walk-ins?
Because it’s so small — no. But we do hold two bar seats in the house. If there’s cancellations or if it’s early enough, we can get them seated.
What time would you recommend stopping by to snag one of the walk-in seats?
Right when we open at 5 p.m.
When are your busiest nights?
Industry standard — Fridays and Saturdays. But we’re also open an extra hour on those days.
How many covers do you do on your busiest night?
If you wanted to average on a busy night — 100 or maybe 110.
How long is your Notify list on average?
Oof. 250 to 400, really.
If someone were to set a Notify for Alpen Rose on Resy, is there a certain day or time they’d be most likely to get a reservation?
Probably in the first hour of service, between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Most people have an internal clock at 7 p.m., but if they’re more than willing to stretch it out a little bit and be more flexible in terms of dining time, there’s definitely a possibility to get in via Notify.
For someone going to Alpen Rose for the first time, what should they order?
The bone marrow toast. The tomahawk steak. Beef Wellington. The mac-n-cheese. And for dessert, I would say the baked Alaska, which is flambeed tableside. Or the chocolate soufflé. Those are all of my favorites.
What kind of music is played inside the restaurant?
On the early side, it’s upbeat contemporary pop. Once it’s later into the night, you get Motown classics and softer jazz tunes.
It’s Friday night at 7 p.m. Can you set the scene for us?
The energy is vibrant. The larger booths have birthday celebrations. They’re ordering seafood towers and large tomahawk steaks and bottle of wines. The labels are turned out, people want to see what others are drinking. The small tables are celebrating an anniversary. There might be some people walking into the kitchen and take them next door to our sister restaurant Double Knot. The air is filled with an aroma of wood fired and grilled steak. The servers are slicing meat tableside.
Omar Mamoon is a San Francisco-based writer & cookie dough professional. Find him at @ommmar.