I was having trouble deciding what to do with my blog since I left my travel job in Charlottesville, Virginia to move to New York City and pursue a career in… something. Since June 2007, when I put up my first retrospective post, this has been about the experience of being a solo business traveler. Over time, I think my posts have been more and more about where I’ve gone out to eat as a solo business traveler. Some restaurants are really receptive to a party of one, and now that I’m in Manhattan–the best food destination city in the US!–I’m on a mission to find them.

I know I’m not alone. We parties of one are sort of rare… we’ve been told it’s “interesting,” “confident,” and even “weird” that we enjoy eating out by ourselves so much. But, for whatever reason, we love it.

Restaurants invest a lot in making their dining rooms attractive and comfortable–a lot more than I can afford to. I usually use meals as a much-needed excuse to read up on what’s going on in the world (especially what’s being cooked where by who). I love cooking, but I don’t have enough space to do it right, and I don’t love take-out at all. But I love eating out the most. Any night can feel like a special occasion. I like the thrill of the wait, the people-watching when I take pause from an article, the relaxation, and, of course, the meal. (I hope.)

When I say some restaurants are more accommodating than others to solo diners, I mean hosts don’t raise their eyebrows when I say “just me” and servers don’t mind seeing a two-top in their section go to one cover, though I usually eat at the bar. No one should feel compelled to entertain me when I have reading material in front of me–servers and bartenders generally know that if I wanted to socialize, I wouldn’t be going out to eat by myself.

So far, I’ve found NYC restaurants to be better than some other cities’ (just the third in that lineup) about hosting the party of one, and they should be recognized…

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