In New York City, Restaurants Welcome Tables for One

Customers dine at Boqueria for lunch. The Spanish restaurant’s tapas, or grazing-style menu, appeals to solo patrons.

In New York City restaurants, the party-of-one is becoming a cause for celebration.

OpenTable, the online reservation platform, said that bookings by solo diners at restaurants in the city jumped by 80% from 2014 to 2018. And while OpenTable said those parties-of-one represent a very small slice of overall bookings, some restaurants said that business from solo diners can now account for up to 10% of their sales.

Even on Valentine’s Day, the most couple-oriented dining occasion of the year, New York restaurants are making room for patrons dining alone. OpenTable said that Valentine’s Day solo reservations in 2018 increased by 33% over the previous year. And perhaps for good reason: Restaurants said solo customers represent the ideal, as they are truly there for the food and experience rather than the social occasion.

“The way we approach it is that when we have a solo diner, it’s more of an honor than anyone else,” said Andrew Kuhl, the dining-room manager at Eleven Madison Park, the Michelin-starred restaurant in Manhattan’s Flatiron District.

Restaurants are doing their part to encourage such business. At such establishments as L’Artusi, an Italian restaurant in the West Village, and Odo, a Japanese spot in the Flatiron District, solo diners are given a free offering—say, a small serving of an off-menu item or a glass of sparkling wine. And on Valentine’s Day, some restaurants said they make an extra effort to welcome the solo crowd. For example, at Jones Wood Foundry, a food-driven pub on the Upper East Side, a communal table is set aside for party-of-one diners.

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NYC’s Most Anticipated Openings of Winter 2019

“To be sure, increased costs is having its impact. Some of the city’s most exciting restaurateurs are focusing their efforts on smaller spaces. The Franks of Italian favorite Frankies 457 are now working with one of Long Island’s most legendary pizzamakers, Umberto Corteo, but it will be for a slice shop. All-day dining — a format that, for some, is a way to help maximize sales — continues to flourish, like at Gertie, Pilar Cuban Bakery, and Bourke Street Bakery.

Money, after all, still runs things. The biggest change to the dining scene will be the debut of all the restaurants at Hudson Yards, the behemoth Manhattan far west side development from Related Companies that has cost $20 billion. Most of the chefs in it needed to have at least $2 million in upfront capital. It arguably isn’t great for the future of NYC dining.”

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New York City Restaurants That Are Open on Christmas Day

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“Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, you may be in the market for a festive meal on December 25. While plenty of kitchens will be closed so employees can take well-deserved breaks, many restaurants across New York City will be running service. From festive brunch and prix-fixe dinners to good ol’ à la carte dining, you can find the Christmas Day meal that suits your needs.

DaDong

Beijing import famous for its roast duck open for Christmas lunch and dinner with its à la carte menu, as well as three prix-fixe menus for groups of two to six guests. All three menus feature Champagne-glazed vine tomatoes and DaDong’s “SuBuNi” roast duck served with sugar, pancakes, crispy sesame buns, and special sauce.”

Read more here.