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City Tavern — (215) 413-1443; 138 South 2nd Street; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Finding yourself in Independence National Historical Park in the hug of history (City Tavern was established in 1773), may foster feelings of togetherness. Then again, libations originally destined for the troops, like "George Washington's Ale — alcohol content, a presidential 12%, and recreated from his very own recipe — may also encourage "hail fellow well met" comradery.
Historically costumed, the staff is equally steeped in history (two weeks of intensive training) and in service. They will bring tableside hree types of breads, including anadama (corn meal and molasses yeast-raised bread, a traditional food of colonial America) and offer them with this invitation: "Should you like more history, please let us know." Most quests accept, especially the numerous foreign solo travelers who are "seeing the United States." According to staff reports, women ask about the costumes and the men ask about the architecture.
Lunch is a solo diner favorite, especially during the months of September, October and November when Europeans and business travelers abound.
Cuisine: 18th Century American
Neighborhood: Old City - Society Hill
Neighborhood: Center City - Society Hill
Dining pods are but one of Pod's many fascinations. One of the first to greet you will be a rubber "barge" in the lounge, likened by the designer to an adult jungle gym, where people can sit, recline and chat — an echo of the conversation pits of the 1960s. Nearby, a row of plastic ottomans along the front windows also get into the act. Their white vinyl cushions light up when you sit on them!
So, where do solos gravitate? Sometimes, depending upon seating availability, they make a bee-line for the shiny communal table seating 16 that anchors the main dining room. Usually, they claim their share of seating at an oval 35-seater sushi bar just to the left of the dining room. A conveyor belt delivers food from the kitchen on color-coded plates. Above the sushi bar a 50-inch plasma-screen TV plays videos of the crowd — captured on 19 cameras strategically placed throughout the restaurant — interspersed with Japanese animation.
White Dog also sponsors community service days and “Take-A-Senior-to-Brunch-on Saturdays.” They'll take 1/2 off the check for the two of you. (To receive this discount, you must make advance advance reservations and mention "Senior Brunch.")
Here’s a comment taken from its newsletter: “Doing well/making a profit should never be separated from doing good”— What an appropriate motto for this restaurant!
Neighborhood: University City