I Think I’m Alone Now
It’s that time of year again! When folks get snazzy haircuts, go on crash diets, rediscover the gym and get all dolled up for their highschool/college reunion. Thus, the DJ has ditched me this weekend to engage in demoralizing life comparisons with his friends, enemies, and frenemies from his Kentucky alma mater.
Which is why I proudly bring you:
ASHEVILLE’ S BEST RESTAURANTS FOR DINING OUT ALONE!!!
Allow me to preface this list by telling you I am a shameless extrovert, and if there’s one thing I despise and find completely useless, it’s alone time. I process in groups, I meditate in groups, I eat in groups, I exercise in groups, I long to carpool or use public transportation, but I actually live too close to work to reasonably do so. Every so often, special circumstances require me to take a deep breath, put on my shades, and go it alone. Which is generally not panic attack-inducing if I’m eating at one of the restaurants on this list.
1. Barley’s. Whether noon or midnight, I can always find individuals sitting blissfully alone while sipping their beer and chowing down on pizza. Something about the open space and that homey smell of dough and beer hitting you when you walk in the door gets rid of the shame immediately. Their beer selection is superior to their food menu, but somehow I end up here a lot. Probably because I love Barley’s staff. The bartenders are always very warm, and available for a great life lesson if you’re in the market.
2. Wasabi. I’m naming restaurants that will not appear on any other “best of” list of mine. Wasabi no longer offers the best sushi option, but the sushi bar is one place you can always dine alone with pride. You even get a special treat for it! (Usually a little squid salad) Hm. I guess this sushi bar rule applies to all sushi restaurants, so there you go.
3. Urban Burrito. It’s fast food, but comfy. They always have the latest Mountain Xpress or other publication at hand. This is honestly where I can most often be found going solo, with a local rag and about six or eight mini-cups of salsas spread out like rainbow chessboard. Urban Burrito also wins the prize for CHEAPEST LUNCH IN ASHEVILLE with the Grande Taco order. They always add plenty of chips so this fills me up without fail for under $3. Genius. I never feel as comfortable eating alone at Mamacita’s. Something about the close proximity of the tables and the trendy social scene makes me feel unpopular and sad for doing it.
4. City Bakery Downtown. I sort of cheat here because I usually bring my laptop when dining alone at this lovely urban coffeeshop. But even if I didn’t it’s spacious enough for no one to notice me while I stare at them over my soup and sandwich. I appreciate their inventive and decently varied soup options. FYI, the food is better than the coffee here, for some reason.
5. Mela. I don’t prefer to sit at the kitchen facing-bar, which is too centrally located for me. Rather I like to get a table for two in the corner and commence aforementioned staring. Awesome people watching at Mela, and the informality of a lunch buffet decreases the stress of my solitary dining.
So, Asheville. Do you have any favorite spots when treating yourself to yourself?