Lately I've been enjoying Milwaukee's dining options solo. I got into the habit when I lived in Hungary, and, upon returning to the U.S., it seemed reasonable to try out new restaurants on my own.
Hey, I'm single and I can't always wait around for my friends to be free for dinner.
That said, it's quite disconcerting just how NOT normal it is in American society for people to eat alone. Try it sometime. And pay attention to the hostess's face when you tell her you are not, in fact, waiting for someone but will be needing a table for one.
Once again, that said, I've decided on a new blog feature entitled "Single in the City" where I take on the land of coupledom and grouptainment to see how establishments make the grade for us single folks. Points for friendliness of staff and lack of weird factor.
First up: Rock Bottom Brewery
The hostess at Rock Bottom Brewery greeted me with a smile for my solo lunch. Never asking if I was waiting for anyone, she simply asked if I would like a table in the bar or in the dining area. I chose the latter.
Once seated, the waiter took my order, only blinking an eye when I ordered a beer in the afternoon on a weekday and not when I sat alone in the booth for 2 hours.
While the restaurant was a bit empty, the staff never once made me feel awkward or inadequate for enjoying my dining experience solo. I did get some work done, so I didn't come in unarmed this time. However, my waiter was very attentive, yet not so much so that it made it seem he was trying to make up for my lack of company. If you've every dined out alone, you know what I mean.
Final Score: Gold Star
The staff at Rock Bottom were friendly and just the right amount of attentive. They didn't try to rush me out of the restaurant out of empathetic embarrassment or a desire to fill the table with more profitable group. Even more, the other customers did not seem uncomfortable with my lone status, in fact, they didn't even seem to notice.
Tune in for my next installment when I recount my experience at Chancery in Wauwatosa, and the suburban housewives seated at the next table who talked about me and my poor, single state the entire time I ate.