I took a visiting group of 19 high school athletes and a few parents there in January 2012, and it was a great eveing--lots of business for Chen's, and the boys got all the food they could eat. That one worked out well.
Same group--without me--went a couple of weeks ago, to the tune of 25 boys and and some adults, and my son reports it was again great. Okay, two big check marks for Chen's.
And I was up there the following weekend with 11 high school girls and five adults. We called ahead. I sent a parent for a personal visit, and we confirmed a 6:30 reservation for 16. Chen's called us to confirm, and we did, again, 16 for 6:30. And then they called again and asked us to come early, so we did, showing up at 6:15. No reserved tables at all, nothing, no prep. They apologized, and said they'd seat us very soon; we said that we'd be happy to sit separately, if that would help them. And in the next 15 minutes they sat a couple (who came in after us) at a booth for six, and another following couple at a booth for 4, then another couple at another booth for four. So, in 15 minutes, they had seat six people in spaces that could accommodate 14, this with a couple of two-person tables open to boot.
Now, I'm not food service professional, but I'm smart enough to see that this added up to 18 or more open spaces, while our group of 16 stood and waited, and waited. Maybe they were looking to get rid of us, and it worked, as we promptly departed and went to the State College Diner across the street, where there was plenty of seating and service. Nice dinner with the girls there.
Bottom line: if you're 2 or 4, you'll probably do okay. But don't count on any large-group reservation being honored.
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