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Interested in restaurants featuring counter/bar dining? Click: eating at the bar

Interested in restaurants featuring communal table dining? Click: eating with others


Pizzeria Bianco
— (602) 258-8300; 623 East Adams Street, Phoenix, Arizona

Amenities: What is the name of the first pizzeria to be honored by James Beard? What pizzeria has had the honor of strutting its stuff at James Beard? Pizzeria Bianco! Not only does it make its own bread and mozzarella, but also it's very solo diner-friendly. Solo businessmen and women have discovered they have a choice when they have a yen for Pizzeria Bianco — the main restaurant or a wine bar next door.

The restaurant is situated in an historic home, one quarter of which is devoted to an old wooden bar, seating nine. A favorite of solos, the area is very comfortable. The wine bar sports eight-nine seats and is where people gravitate for wine and appetizers.

Cuisine: Rustic Italian

Neighborhood: Historic City Park

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Tarbell's — (602) 955-8100; 3213 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, Arizona.

Amenities: Solo diner comfort was uppermost in chef/owner Mark Tarbell's mind when planning this restaurant. “Certainly women, but men too, are intimidated about going out to dinner alone,” said Tarbell who confesses to having traveled alone “a lot” and who remembers being ignored as a solo.

His restaurant is open, filled with “action and animation” and offers great seating for solos. It's easy to get into conversation with couples or other solos at the curved bird's-eye maple bar, seating 20, that overlooks an open kitchen and allows you to see everyone.

Another solo favorite is a bank of high bistro tables along the windows. Tarbell determined “from day one” that his restaurant was going to pay special attention to solos to make them welcome. “There are no rules about what solo diners can and cannot do,” he said. “You can come in for ‘just a pizza’ or ‘just a beer.’ ”

He also believes it's important to time a solo meal properly. “If a solo is lost in reading, we'll slow down meal service. But when he or she is not, we'll quicken the pace,” he said. “When you are dining alone, the minutes are fatter.”

Their traveling regulars include lawyers who are trying cases locally. One treats himself to “the greatest wines” when he visits. With the Argon gas system in place, he enjoys half a bottle one night and can look forward to the rest in equally pristine shape the next.

Cuisine: American — big, bold flavors, drawing ingredients from local organic farms.

Neighborhood: Camelback Corridor

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Roy's-Scottsdale — (480) 905-1155; 7001 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Amenities: "Bar area seating" in this satelite of Roy's is as important for solos as it is in Hawaii. A few solos reserve ahead (It's booked two to three weeks in advance.) for table seating in this 4-top only restaurant, but many join bar devotees, those who are dining (full menu available) or awaiting tables, in an area which includes 10 stools at the bar and seven tables. The pizza bar blessed with gregarious chefs and seating for 12 is another option, as is the patio, weather permiting.

Cuisine: Euro-Asian

Neighborhood: Central - Heart of Resort Area

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Maynard's Market & Kitchen — (520) 545-0577; 400 North Toole Tucson, Arizona.

Amenities: Rest your feet on a length of 1890's rail track at the bar or settle into cushions in the boxcar lounge. BUT before you commit, check out their community table in the Market section. Crafted from a Ponderosa Pine lost in the Mt. Lemmon fires, it offers a great base for your laptop. Indulge in continental breakfast or lunch in this area surrounded by the wares of 40 local vendors across Arixona.

Cuisine: Fresh, imaginative, and as locally-sourced as possuble!

Neighborhood: Downtown's Historic East End

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