Hot SoloDining.com Restaurants

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Austin



Dallas



Fort Worth



Houston

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Austin


Si Bon — (512) 326-8323; 801 South Lamar Boulevard, Austin, Texas.


Amenities: Home-away-from-home for solo guests of the neighboring Four Seasons Hotel, it also sports a growing coterie of local regulars. One gentleman, who appears a couple of times a week when he's not away on business, favors the current tasting menu. But sometimes he announces, "I've been dreaming about a meal embracing a wonderful pinot. Go for it!"

Currently, seating is limited, but solo diner solutions abound. Two good corner tables flank the fireplace. But the action, and much of the fun, starts with the half-circle bar. The staff knows its customers (Those they don't are infiltrated fast!) and they're quick to make introductions. Many solos (and couples) find themselves sharing a large 6-top table.


Cuisine: "Good" (True, original sauces; no butter nor garlic fears!)

Neighborhood: South of Town Lake

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Dallas


Mi Piaci — (972) 934-8424; 14854 Montfort, Dallas, Texas.


Amenities: Among the favored appearing on Esquire Magazine's 1997 roster of the “20 Best Restaurants for a Solo Meal,” this restaurant attracts solo diners! (The word is getting around about Mi Piaci’s complimentary glass of champagne for solos and its stash of current magazines.)

Most of the 20-30 solos who appear daily (more dinner-goers) prefer a table in the main restaurant area overlooking a tranquil pond. Still others others opt for the 40 seat bar or the patio.


Cuisine: Authentic Northern Italian

Neighborhood: Addison Area

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Fort Worth


Ol' South Pancake House and Family Restaurant — (817) 336-0311; 1509 South University Drive, Fort Worth, Texas.


Amenities: Barbara Bakal Manzi chastised the Los Angeles Times in her letter to the editor, published 1/5/03 in the "Travel Section."

[Fort Worth] has lots of terrific restaurants, but you missed the Ol' Pancake House and Family Restaurant where you can get the world's best German pancakes.

When we are in Dallas, we always travel the 35 miles to Fort Worth to have them. (I have tried to find something that matches, or at least comes close, but nothing does; Ol' South won't give out the recipe, either.

Solos patronizing Ol' South (40 years of cultivating customers!) may select among four dining rooms — smoking and non-smoking; however, the many regulars loyally follow favorite waitresses — many of whom have logged 10+ years at Ol' South — wherever they are working is where solos will sit and read their newspapers.


Cuisine: Home-style American

Neighborhood: Cultural Area

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Houston


Boulevard Bistrot — (713) 524-6922; 4319 Montrose Blvd., Houston, Texas.


Amenities: Plan to be assertive here. The staff is hospitable, but they don't presume to know what their solo guests want in the way of a dining experience. Quite simply, they wait until they get that all-important inkling. And direction usually comes mighty fast.

Most of their solo diners, usually locals, a handful of business travelers and medical center visitors, arrive ready to be part of this intimate scene. This is not a magazine-carrying cadre — there's no zoning out for this group! And yet, management maintains "a library for solo diners" — fun food books and current magazines — and they claim an almost-everyday solo regular, who appears (sometimes with her husband) to eat and write in her journal.

Divided evenly between men and women, solos range from mid-30s to 40s in age. Whether they make a reservation (25% do!) or walk in, most steer toward the counter, an old Wells Fargo bank teller's counter, seating 10.


Cuisine: Eclectic American

Neighborhood: Restaurant Row in the Museum District



Brennan's of Houston — (713) 522-9711; 3300 Smith Street, Houston, Texas

Amenities: Have you ever heard of the "Prize Patrol"? An article in Santé, the magazine for restaurant professionals, drew our attention to an endearing facet of Brennan's response to customer complaints. When a slip-up occurs — a diner's request for a special table failed to appear in the reservation system; a customer was dissatisfied with his or her meal, etc. — the managers review the problem and agree on a remedy.

After making an appointment with the customer, the "Prize Patrol," a group of employees, personally delivers a gift — perhaps a certificate for a complimentary meal, a bouquet of balloons, or a platter of Brennan's signature pralines.

Brennan's is on top of its game concerning solo diner customers. Solos, primarily business travelers (Recently, four were on the books for Wednesday dinner.) who frequent Brennan's for weekday lunch or dinner, are offered their first cocktail or an after dinner drink — on the house.


Cuisine: Combination of French, Creole and Cajun (Complimentary shuttle service to and from the theater is available.)

Neighborhood: Midtown


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