By Sarah Gail Myers, Sara Brooks Adans and Mallori Baker – Journalism Students
The University of Mississippi will be hosting two commencement ceremonies this year. The university has designated the first two weekends of May for 2021 and 2020 graduates. With two ceremonies this year dinner reservations are hard to come by.
St. Leo’s Lounge on the Square in Oxford was completely booked within the first few days after opening reservations for the two graduation weekends, and the restaurant is only allowing 90 minutes for graduates and their guests to eat.
“We are completely full. We’re going to still do 75% capacity, but we added more tables,” says Sydney Ray, an employee of St. Leo’s. “We’re not hiring anyone extra, but it’s going to be as many servers as we possibly can, we’re going to have extra hostesses, extra people in the back just to completely prepare for that weekend.”
Although many people struggled to find a dining option, 2021 graduate Rebecca Donaldson moved faced to get a spot at St. Leo’s.
“The reservation wasn’t that bad, because I think that people think to book hotel rooms before they book reservations for restaurants, but it was a time that wasn’t as ideal,” said Donaldson.
You can also forget about the waitlist at some local eatieres.
“We are completely booked for graduation weekend. We started [taking reservations] on March 31st and were booked up by April 1st. We are not keeping a waitlist,” City Grocery Manager Jennifer Nelson said.
At other restaurants, it will be first come first served, and it’s recommended that you put your name on the waiting list early. Boure is one that will be accepting walk-ins.
“I always tell people to come in at least an hour and a half two hours before they’re wanting to sit down to eat and put their name on the waitlist and well send them a text message when its time for their table,” Boure General Manager April Jacobs said.
Boure will continue to use the upstairs bar as a waiting area for guests over 21.
Some graduates have decided to skip the restaurant dining scene altogether, opting for catered parties.
“I’m graduating in May and me and all my best friends wanted to be together with our families, but since COVID with all the rules and regulations, a restaurant won’t fit all of us together,” Senior Claire McClure said.
Instead she and her friends families have rented a house big enough to hold them all.