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Yes, There Is A Right Time To Dine At A Restaurant Alone

Solo diner cutting into meat
Solo diner cutting into meat - Djelics/Getty Images

It's not weird to go to a restaurant alone, but some start to sweat at the idea. It's a low-stakes activity in the grand scheme of things, but it's also an opportunity for a person to question if they are alone in this world. If you include yourself in this group, we're thrilled to inform you that you're not alone in this world and eating solo is a delightful activity that, if you ask us, everyone should experience at least once in their lives.

With that said, there's an unspoken rule that solo diners should keep in mind -- especially those who have their eyes on popular restaurants: Go on the early side. Not only will you avoid the rush and, in turn, feel overly self-conscious, but you might also catch the serving staff in their most relaxed state. This is crucial for a solo diner, who might get overlooked in a busy dining room. And we'd be remiss not to mention those happy hour prices.

Read more: The Ultimate American Fast Food Restaurants Ranked

Early Bird Gets The Best Service

Empty table at restaurant
Empty table at restaurant - Siri Stafford/Getty Images

If it's true that "6 p.m. is the new 8 p.m." for New York restaurant-goers, as Rachel Sugar claimed in The New York Times Style Magazine, then solo diners should consider having dinner around 5:30 p.m., or even a bit earlier.

It might sound sacrosanct and deeply unfashionable, but there are so many benefits that come along with the early bird special, including those mentioned above. As Lauren Collins put it in her paean to early dining in the New Yorker, "The only thing better than early dinner is late lunch."

Even experienced solo diners who don't give a hoot about their single place setting among a sea of couples and groups can benefit from an early meal, as reservations are generally more open on the earlier side. That's great news for those who prefer a two-top over a spot at the bar.

No, Servers Don't Dislike Solo Diners

Server taking diner's order
Server taking diner's order - fizkes/Shutterstock

There are many myths about solo dining that should be dispelled once and for all. A big one has to do with servers' feelings toward tables for one. As popular belief has it, restaurant staff much prefer large groups who leave large tips.

According to The Salty Waitress, whose eponymous advice column appears in The Takeout, solo diners are just dandy in the eyes of servers. "Any customer at one of my tables is extra tip money I wouldn't have earned otherwise," she wrote. She added that solo diners tend to leave after they've paid the bill, whereas groups might stay "linger for literal hours."

She also noted that solo diners are often good conversationalists, but don't worry — there's nothing wrong with keeping to yourself with a book or a journal. Although, we'd recommend staying off your phone as much as you can. Dining out is a privilege, after all, and it deserves to be savored. If you go on the early side, you might even have time to take yourself to a movie afterward.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.