Do Single People Really Need Help Dining Solo?

EATER just ran a rather sad piece titled “21 Restaurants Ideal for Solo Diners.” A few days later, Food52 came up with “How To Grocery Shop For One.” Question for my single friends: is it that hard to enjoy a solo meal out or figure out a shopping list for one?

Eater really set me off with their article headlined – more or less –

One is never the loneliest number at these spots. A lack of dining companions? …Some restaurants make solo diners feel like second-class citizens.. Lost in a book at a table for one?

C’mon Eater…

And yes, I have friends who are not keen on dining out solo. But the tone of this Eater article reinforces the myth that solo dining is an awkward, lonely experience (subtext: for losers who have no friends). But believe me, it’s all in your attitude and how you approach it.

With 50% of American adults now single, it might be more helpful to explore solo dining through the lens of the confident foodie. For example, highlighting how much easier it is for solo diners to get into the hottest new restaurants by requesting a seat at the chefs counter/bar. In my experience, even high-end restaurants are now increasingly offering bar or counter seating. It’s certainly become my favorite place to sit – even when I am dining with a friend.

Over the years, I’ve come to view bar/counter seating as the perfect VIP experience. You invariably get to chat with the staff as well as fellow diners. When I travel (which I generally do solo), I always check for photos of restaurants I’m planning to visit to see if they have bar seating. I’ve gotten the best insider info from restaurant staff on what to do/see in their city – whether that’s Copenhagen or Tulsa. And sometimes, if you’re lucky, the chef will even give you a tour of the kitchen. That’s what happened in Copenhagen at Kodbyens Fiskebar. Pic above (lower middle) is from my kitchen tour with the sous chef there. It’s an unbeatable experience, really fun. And by the way, a photo from my review of Kodbyens Fiskebar has garnered almost 4 million views on Google! Can you believe that?

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single New Yorkers comprise 53% of the city’s population

And many of us are running households, paying mortgages, and managing our businesses. I have a feeling the writer of the Food52 post did not have us in mind. Perhaps college students need this kind of step-by-step assistance?

I would have thought it pretty simple to decipher a recipe whether for 4, 2 or 1 and either decide to make it as is and have leftovers for a day or two or simply divide the ingredient list by the required number. How challenging can it be to turn a recipe for four into a meal for one?

But maybe I’ve been doing this for too long. What do you all think?

Bottom Line.

I don’t get these “poor singles” articles at all.

To assume that because somebody is single, they will be befuddled about how to make a shopping list or find a restaurant is not only misguided but insulting.

Based on my experience, people who manage to live alone will probably be OK in the grocery aisle. They’ll figure out how to grocery shop for themselves – maybe halving a recipe isn’t so difficult? And they’ll probably also be successful finding a restaurant where they can sidle up to the bar or chef’s counter, strike up a conversation and order a delicious meal.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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