Dinner for One: How Restaurants Welcome Solo Diners

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Most restaurants set tables for groups. Certain reservation booking systems only offer seating for parties of two. But, despite the fact that restaurants are designed as social spaces, complete with menus of “share plates,” some restaurants are embracing the presence of the solo diner. “I think it’s a real compliment,” New York City restaurateur Will Guidara says of solo guests. “It’s saying ‘I’m here at the restaurant. It’s my number one priority.’”

Because of that enthusiasm, “it is kind of a rule [at his NYC restaurant Eleven Madison Park] to go above and beyond to make those experiences special” for those dining alone, Guidara says. And other chefs and restaurant owners are taking steps to ensure those eating alone feel like they’re more than lost potential for a bigger bill.

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