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I Think I’m Alone Now

October 6, 2007

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?

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. October 6, 2007 9:04 pm

    I almost always sip coffee solo in the morning while reading the Mountain X. So far my favorite coffee sipping place is City Bakery Downtown, which is not really my fav because it only has three of the four requirements for best: organic coffee, a comfy couch, a breakfast sandwich and good atmosphere. City Bakery has the atmosphere, good coffee and quiche. No couch.

  2. rascalgrrl permalink
    October 7, 2007 9:02 am

    Circle in the Square just under Urban Burrito is my fave for dining solo and with others for a quick and affordable meal. The staff is super friendly, and the food is amazing. They make the best marinara I have ever put in my mouth. The dough for the pizza and calzones is comforting without being over-bready (look, word invention!), the ingredients are fresh (except for the mushrooms, unfortunately), the sandwiches are stuffed and made when you order them, not prepared ahead of time. Especially good is their Philly Cheesesteak…mmmmm. Gooey goodness and protein.

  3. October 7, 2007 10:10 am

    The foodcourt at the Ashvegas Mall. i’ll grab a big ol’ bag of Chick Filet (sometimes the Panda Express calls, but usually it’s Chick Filet), a giant drink, then hunker in down in one of the half-moon shaped booths at the far end near the big glass windows – as far away as possible from the screaming kids in play area.

    but talk about people watching – especially milf watching at lunch – this is the place to blend in and be alone while not being alone.

  4. October 7, 2007 12:12 pm

    Im in the middle of my own from-scratch experiment. I plan to have my own home-made masala dosa tomorrow night. My dosa dough has been prepared and is fermenting as I type.

    I’ll give my agreement on Mela and Urban Burrito. Two of my favorites so far in Asheville and I’ve probably eaten at both alone more than with someone else. Good stuff.

  5. October 7, 2007 1:41 pm

    I often eat alone at the bar at Usual Suspects, but then the owners are friends of mine, so it’s not really eating alone. I do think their bleu cheese burger with sweet potato fries rocks. As does their Thai sirloin salad.

    Otherwise, yes to Urban Burrito. Also, the former Eckerd’s, not Rite Aid, lunch counter. That’s one of the best under $3 meals in town. I get the grilled pimento cheese sandwich with fried okra. Yum!

  6. October 8, 2007 9:17 am

    Not as often as I’d like, but I’ll slide into the Tastee Diner to listen to the old timers talk about politics and NASCAR over eggs and biscuits.

  7. catma permalink
    October 8, 2007 11:21 am

    I disagree about Mela. My too long comment on your Indian food entry did leave out one thing:
    India Garden is my favorite place to dine alone. I picture Mela being a lot of nodding & grinning with a full mouth at people making eye contact with ‘that person dining alone’.

  8. October 8, 2007 11:57 am

    Wow. Ashevillians really fall hard on one side of the Indian food divide. Perhaps the chefs of each restaurant should stage an Iron Chef Competition, with me as the celebrity judge, of course.

  9. October 8, 2007 2:27 pm

    I’ve recently taken to going to Rosetta’s Kitchen for lunch about once a week. It’s a nice, laid-back place to eat alone, especially if you can snag a seat at the counter at the porch overlooking Lexington.

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