Call Ahead If You're Dining Out Tonight

I was greeted with closed doors at The Sam Bar this afternoon when I tried to hit up the cozy spot in the Alden Hotel for lunch this afternoon. Its big sister restaurant, *17, was also closed -- albeit because it was a smidge after 2 p.m. -- and the maitre d' told me that The Sam Bar, like many places downtown, had closed due to a lack of lunchtime traffic.

Downtown was a ghost town this afternoon, it's true. With many commuters choosing not to make the drive in due to icy road conditions, many restaurants elected to have a "snow day" of their own. I walked from Sam Bar to Byrd's on Main Street, only to find it dark inside. The next closest restaurant, an unfortunate-looking pub, was closed too. (Darn.)

Luckily, I found refuge in a bowl of ginger-butternut squash bisque at Azuma. And just as many downtown restaurants -- Ziggy's, Irma's, Hearsay and most places in the tunnels -- were open as closed. But let today's lunchtime misadventure serve as a cautionary tale for tonight.

There's no sense in braving icy roads tonight, only to find your restaurant of choice closed when you get there. Call ahead to make sure your dining destination is open.

And whatever you do, for Pete's sake, stay off the highways.

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