A Table For One

Even as the taste of turkey and pumpkin pie still lingers, we launch into the biggest food season of the year with Christmas just around the corner. So in keeping with all things Food, I thought it would be a good time to tell you about my good friend Anne’s fabulous website about all things food related in and around The Port City. Appropriately named, Portcityfoodie is a go-to resource for information on restaurants, interviews with local chefs, food events, recipes and so much more. Be sure to check it out!

Recently, Port City Foodie published the following post that I wrote for them about “adventures in dining solo” which I call “A Table For One.”

Hey, all you “Seinfeld” fans, remember the episode where Elaine pretends that a janitor’s closet is her apartment just to get Chinese food delivered? If you don’t know the story, Elaine is craving the “Supreme Flounder” from China Panda. After placing her order she learns that they cannot deliver to her apartment building because her side of the street is not in their delivery zone. However, the building across the street from her’s is in the zone.


My friend Joy outside restaurant in China Town, NYC

To beat China Panda at their own game, Elaine finds a janitorial closet in that building, duck tapes the apartment number “1Q” on the closet door, and waits inside for her food. Upon learning of her charade, Jerry asks incredulously, “You’re pretending to live in a janitor’s closet just to get this flounder?” To which Elaine replies, “It’s better than eating it alone in the restaurant like some loser!”

Ouch! Hopefully none of us single people would go to such extremes to avoid eating alone in a restaurant, or would consider ourselves losers if we did. But Elaine knows, and most single folks would agree, that there is a certain stigma attached to dining out alone. Lunch alone isn’t a problem. Nor is sitting alone in a booth with your laptop at a free wi-fi cafe. But when it comes to dinner, especially at a full service restaurant, we hesitate, reluctant to enter an environment that seems to advertise our oneness in a sea of couples.

Ok, so you say dining out with another person or a group is just more fun. Yes, I prefer it too. But the question I ask myself is this, do I let my singleness keep me from exploring all of the delicious dining experiences to be had in our area?

Not long ago I took my dog out for an early evening walk on The Loop at Wrightsville Beach. I passed by Poe’s Tavern at 212 Causeway Drive and decided to stop for dinner, as I had always thought it looked like a charming place from the outside. (I am also a sucker for anything with an Edgar Allen Poe theme.) img_0193
Because I had Chuckles with me I was relegated to the outside patio. As the hostess escorted me to a table that could easily have seated 8 people I thought, “I know I’m single, why must you emphasize it?”

While sitting there staring down my expanse of empty table, waiting for my fish tacos to arrive, it occurred to me that I should write about my experience. Maybe it would resonate with readers. I soon realized that I could turn my solo dining into a kind of field research project over the next several months and share my stories; the good, the bad, and the funny, with all of you Cape Fear Foodies. I’m hoping that I might inspire many of you to do the same and I hope you will in turn share your stories with me.

Dear readers, do you have a good story about dining alone that you would care to share?


8 thoughts on “A Table For One

  1. After 32 years of business travel with IBM (usually, although not always, alone), I have absolutely no problem dining alone, even in the classiest of restaurants. I am so accustomed to it now, that I actually prefer it. I usually bring a book if I know I will be eating out. My favorite memory is my many business trips to Bethesda, Maryland, where I stayed at the Marriott Hotel. They had several restaurants, including one for solo diners. Each table in the solo restaurant was appropriately sized for one and far enough away from the other tables that no one “intruded” on anyone else. Each table was equipped with a good reading lamp, for those who had brought books. There was also a large screen TV in one corner of the room that was visible at each table. Those who wished to watch TV had earphones at their table. This was before the days of individual screens, but the management usually selected a good drama like Columbo or Hawaii Five-0. The food was always good, and all the solo diners kept to themselves. All in all, it is a very good memory for me. I often wondered why other Hotels didn’t do this too. Linda D.

    On Wed, Nov 30, 2016 at 2:43 PM, The Bohemian Freethinker wrote:

    > thebohemianfreethinker posted: “Even as the taste of turkey and pumpkin > pie still lingers, we launch into the biggest food season of the year with > Christmas just around the corner. So in keeping with all things Food, I > thought it would be a good time to tell you about my good friend Ann” >


  2. That is one of my favorite episodes. I’m not single but I know I don’t like dinning alone at a restaurant and will opt for room service if I’m traveling.


  3. I like dining alone- although I understand the stigma. I too am a reader which helps in the – keeping myself occupied department. I’m also not adverse to innocent eavesdropping
    It can be fun to speculate on the lives of others.
    When a couple or friends argue, I particularly relish my solitude, although I enjoy the company of others. I also don’t mind taking myself to a movie.


  4. In the little Town I live in there are a couple of good restaurants that I can go to with a bar/counter to eat. I guess you could call me a regular so I know the staff and some of the customers (they know me by name). Usually, I can go there and run into someone I know or meet a new person at the counter. I have had some very nice dinners and good times at these two places. It truly is a “small world” when you sit at the bar.


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