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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Webster Hall Team Opens New Seneca Avenue Restaurant

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“The family behind New York’s Webster Hall has opened a new organic American eatery on Seneca Avenue. The Seneca combines a coffee shop, restaurant and bar inside the new digs that opened last summer at 582 Seneca Ave., owners said.

The eatery features a full coffee menu, kombucha on tap, a full menu of beers, natural wines and cocktails, and a short menu of elevated bar food. A breakfast sandwich comes with house-made sausage and hot sauce, the chicken club comes on pullman bread and the tacos come with either chorizo, avocado or mushrooms.

The Seneca is open from Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., the kitchen stays open until midnight and happy hour is from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day, according to the eatery’s website.”

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The Best Restaurant Meals of 2018

Roasted eggplant with Calabrian chile

Kat Kinsman, Extra Crispy Senior Food & Drinks Editor and Food & Wine Contributor: Eating out is often tough for me because I have so many dietary restrictions, so the vegetable courses at Misi were an absolute godsend. I texted a friend on the way home freaking out about how each of them was excellent in a violently different way, and that I could partake of just about everything with glee. Also, I must mention the hospitality at Temple Court. Even during an overwhelmed Restaurant Week, every single person was gracious, informed, efficient, and warm. I know I’m an easily identifiable food world professional, but I also take care to look around and see how other tables are being treated. All smiles. It was a joy.”

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The Biggest Surprises in NYC Dining in 2018

A dinner spread at Le Sia

“Serena Dai, editor of Eater NY: I suppose I shouldn’t be so surprised by this because the world is such a garbage fire, but it was interesting to see how quickly powerful people (and a lot of media) were to embrace the return of the Four Seasons Restaurant seemingly without any caveat. I guess I’m an optimist, which means I will always be a little bit surprised at how naive old-school power is. Did the 40 investors really think that Julian Niccolini’s past behavior wouldn’t impact perception of the restaurant among the new audience they were reportedly aiming to attract? Did they really think amazing food and a $30 million build-out could overcome years and years of baggage — now newly visible in the age of #MeToo — when nobody from the restaurant came out front to address the fact that the face of the restaurant is an admitted sexual assaulter? People can’t move forward without an apology, but here, there wasn’t even really that. Yes, it’s legendary; yes, it’s hugely influential. But we live in a different world now, and sometimes it is okay to pay our respects, and then lay a restaurant to rest.”

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Pearl Found In Restaurant Oyster For Second Time In Month

Pearl Found In Restaurant Oyster For Second Time In Month: Report

“The latest treasure was discovered at the Williamsburg eatery Maison Premiere on Bedford Ave., the New York Post reported. Kristin Pulaski, 29, told the newspaper she felt something hard in an oyster that she bit into on Dec. 15.

Earlier this month, Rick Antosh, 66, chewed an oyster in the Grand Central Oyster Bar and bit down on a pearl thought to be worth $4,000.

An appraiser told Pulaski her the pearl was lumpy and wouldn’t be worth a fortune, but she intends to have some statement jewelry made out of it, she told the Post. The restaurant’s owner told the paper this was the first pearl he knew of that had been found there in eight years.”

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