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Where to Dine Solo in Detroit

Where to eat in metro Detroit when you want to go on a date with yourself

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Dining solo is an underrated joy. It’s a chance to connect with oneself and be present in the moment. It’s also a chance to indulge without worry about judgment from fellow dining companions. The trick is to find those restaurants and bars where sitting alone isn’t just OK, it’s embraced. Whether whiling away on snacks and drinks while chatting with the bartender, cozying up in a quiet diner with a good book, treating yourself to a beautifully-plated meal in a hard-to-book restaurant, or slurping noodles guilt-free, metro Detroit has many options for ensuring an enjoyable meal in the company of one.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

Did we miss your favorite spot for solo dining? Hit us up at the the tipline, Twitter, or Facebook and we’ll check it out.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Sozai Restaurant

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One of the most phenomenal new dining experiences to open during the pandemic is the Eater award-winning sushi bar, Sozai, located in an unassuming spot in Clawson. And one of the many joys of this place is chatting up chef Hajime Sato, who is passionate about using (and talking about) sustainable seafood. Why not make a reservation for one at the small sushi bar, sample the eatery’s mindfully sourced offerings, as well as select from some of its top-shelf and rare saké.

Mabel Gray

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Scoring reservations at Mabel Gray can be tricky: The James Beard award-nominated Hazel Park restaurant’s exquisite, globally inspired, New American seasonal menu rotates daily, giving diners plenty of reason to return, so it has maintained a consistent and devoted following since opening its doors in 2015. Chef-owner James Rigato says that while reservations are typically required, solo diners can call ahead, and the staff will do what the can to squeeze them in.

Mabel Gray.
Mabel Gray.
Brenna Houck

Dos Locos Tacos

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Folks looking for a quiet lunch counter to satisfy their taco cravings can drop in on Dos Locos Tacos in Hamtramck for a quick fix. Located inside the former Campau Tower, this tiny gem gets the job done with choice of carne asada, chicken, chorizo, as well as vegan or mushroom versions for those who want to avoid meat. The seating is limited to a sparse row of stools, so dining solo really is the preferred option here.

The Kitchen, by Cooking with Que

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When looking for a haven for vegan-forward dining, The Kitchen by Cooking with Que is it. The brightly decorated, cafe and diner has a menu featuring Beyond Meat Burgers topped with sautéed kale and mushrooms and “cheez,” non-boring salads, plus a variety of light, refreshing beverages like its lavender lemonade. And the high-top bar seating is great for single diners on the go.

Supino Pizzeria New Center

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One can’t go wrong with pizza by the slice. And for that, Supino Pizzeria is the gold standard. The generously foldable slices satisfy any pizza craving without requiring diners to order a whole pie by themselves. Choose from everyday classics (cheese, pepperoni) or the rotating daily specials, such as the Bimarck, with fresh mozzarella, ham, and egg, or El Greco with spinach, feta, onion, and kalamata olives. As a bonus, ordering by the slice provides the option to round out the meal with a side of meatballs or a salad. The pizzeria’s New Center location offers dine-in service, where one can sit at the bar or enjoy a small table.

Detroit Shipping Company

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One of the beauties of eating out alone is the sense of spontaneity, and the Detroit Shipping Company is great for those of us who know we’re hungry but aren’t sure yet what we’re in the mood for. The Cass Corridor food hall and beer garden features a variety of global cuisine: Thai from Bangkok 96 Street Food, Momo Cha Nepalese dumplings, Coop Caribbean Chicken, the New York-inspired Halal Street, and Motor Burger (which offers a subtle nod to our neighbors in Windsor). Still can’t decide? Grab a little bit of everything — each food vendor has lots of fingers foods to choose from.

Looking for a power lunch spot sans the annoying co-workers? Karl’s, situated on the second level of the Wurlitzer Building downtown, features adorable upholstered seating ideal for cozying up with one of the diner’s big salads and a book while overlooking Broadway Street. Or, sit at the bar, order a smart cocktail like a Lady Martini, and feel zero guilt about ordering the spaghetti and duck leg meatballs on a weekday while chatting with one of the friendly bartenders.

Hygrade Deli

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The retro diner vibes are strong at the stalwart Hygrade Deli, where the servers and bussers make it a point to know regulars’ orders by heart. Grab a table or sit at the lunch counter, and say hi to longtime waitress Linda, then get to the business of tackling one of the deli’s signature ginormous Reubens stacked high with Sy Ginsberg corned beef. The monstrous meal is enough to keep anyone company and requires one’s full attention, rendering dining here with someone else pointless.

Ima’s original Corktown location has just what solo diners need to enjoy its signature Forest udon, pho, and filling rice bowls without worry about making a mess in front of company: plentiful bar seating facing the wall or window, providing intimate space that actually encourages eating alone.

Shelby is one of the hottest legit speakeasies in Detroit right now: There’s no sign directing people where it’s located, no phone number to call for directions, and its host stand is disguised as a tiny coffee counter in the basement of a high rise in the city’s financial district. Instead of fretting over a hefty bill, go alone and nerd out on its impressive cocktail and small plates menu. The bartenders and servers make great company, and take comfort in knowing that shareable food menu (featuring beef tartar, vegan Escar-No, and shrimp cocktails) does not need to be shared.

Antojitos Southwest

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Getting down on a plate of quesabirria can get messy: Pan-fried using red chili-stained fatty broth, oozing with chunks of meat and cheese, it’s really are best when dipped in consomme. Avoid an audience, and for a stellar solo quesabirria experience, the Antojitos Southwest taco truck is the spot, available from noon to 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Johnny Noodle King

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Getting a table at Johnny Noodle King in Southwest Detroit can sometimes be tricky for a party of two, let alone larger groups, especially during the cold winter months when everyone is craving a piping hot bowl of ramen. This is why it’s worth trying to snag a solo stool at the bar. Slurp away in peace on any number of ramen dishes, like the always popular tonkotsu with pork broth, pork belly, and black garlic oil. (Besides, who’s going to care if you have garlic breath?)

Duly's Place Coney Island

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No one’s every really dining alone at Duly’s; the gruff, old-school coney in Southwest Detroit is almost always buzzing, whether by the late night crowds, breakfast lovers, or neighborhood locals. Oh, and don’t forget the sassy servers, who enjoy a good ribbing or telling it like it is. Just be sure to bring cash, because cards aren’t accepted.

Sozai Restaurant

One of the most phenomenal new dining experiences to open during the pandemic is the Eater award-winning sushi bar, Sozai, located in an unassuming spot in Clawson. And one of the many joys of this place is chatting up chef Hajime Sato, who is passionate about using (and talking about) sustainable seafood. Why not make a reservation for one at the small sushi bar, sample the eatery’s mindfully sourced offerings, as well as select from some of its top-shelf and rare saké.

Mabel Gray

Mabel Gray.
Mabel Gray.
Brenna Houck

Scoring reservations at Mabel Gray can be tricky: The James Beard award-nominated Hazel Park restaurant’s exquisite, globally inspired, New American seasonal menu rotates daily, giving diners plenty of reason to return, so it has maintained a consistent and devoted following since opening its doors in 2015. Chef-owner James Rigato says that while reservations are typically required, solo diners can call ahead, and the staff will do what the can to squeeze them in.

Mabel Gray.
Mabel Gray.
Brenna Houck

Dos Locos Tacos

Folks looking for a quiet lunch counter to satisfy their taco cravings can drop in on Dos Locos Tacos in Hamtramck for a quick fix. Located inside the former Campau Tower, this tiny gem gets the job done with choice of carne asada, chicken, chorizo, as well as vegan or mushroom versions for those who want to avoid meat. The seating is limited to a sparse row of stools, so dining solo really is the preferred option here.

The Kitchen, by Cooking with Que

When looking for a haven for vegan-forward dining, The Kitchen by Cooking with Que is it. The brightly decorated, cafe and diner has a menu featuring Beyond Meat Burgers topped with sautéed kale and mushrooms and “cheez,” non-boring salads, plus a variety of light, refreshing beverages like its lavender lemonade. And the high-top bar seating is great for single diners on the go.

Supino Pizzeria New Center

One can’t go wrong with pizza by the slice. And for that, Supino Pizzeria is the gold standard. The generously foldable slices satisfy any pizza craving without requiring diners to order a whole pie by themselves. Choose from everyday classics (cheese, pepperoni) or the rotating daily specials, such as the Bimarck, with fresh mozzarella, ham, and egg, or El Greco with spinach, feta, onion, and kalamata olives. As a bonus, ordering by the slice provides the option to round out the meal with a side of meatballs or a salad. The pizzeria’s New Center location offers dine-in service, where one can sit at the bar or enjoy a small table.

Detroit Shipping Company

One of the beauties of eating out alone is the sense of spontaneity, and the Detroit Shipping Company is great for those of us who know we’re hungry but aren’t sure yet what we’re in the mood for. The Cass Corridor food hall and beer garden features a variety of global cuisine: Thai from Bangkok 96 Street Food, Momo Cha Nepalese dumplings, Coop Caribbean Chicken, the New York-inspired Halal Street, and Motor Burger (which offers a subtle nod to our neighbors in Windsor). Still can’t decide? Grab a little bit of everything — each food vendor has lots of fingers foods to choose from.

Karl's

Looking for a power lunch spot sans the annoying co-workers? Karl’s, situated on the second level of the Wurlitzer Building downtown, features adorable upholstered seating ideal for cozying up with one of the diner’s big salads and a book while overlooking Broadway Street. Or, sit at the bar, order a smart cocktail like a Lady Martini, and feel zero guilt about ordering the spaghetti and duck leg meatballs on a weekday while chatting with one of the friendly bartenders.

Hygrade Deli

The retro diner vibes are strong at the stalwart Hygrade Deli, where the servers and bussers make it a point to know regulars’ orders by heart. Grab a table or sit at the lunch counter, and say hi to longtime waitress Linda, then get to the business of tackling one of the deli’s signature ginormous Reubens stacked high with Sy Ginsberg corned beef. The monstrous meal is enough to keep anyone company and requires one’s full attention, rendering dining here with someone else pointless.

ima

Ima’s original Corktown location has just what solo diners need to enjoy its signature Forest udon, pho, and filling rice bowls without worry about making a mess in front of company: plentiful bar seating facing the wall or window, providing intimate space that actually encourages eating alone.

Shelby

Shelby is one of the hottest legit speakeasies in Detroit right now: There’s no sign directing people where it’s located, no phone number to call for directions, and its host stand is disguised as a tiny coffee counter in the basement of a high rise in the city’s financial district. Instead of fretting over a hefty bill, go alone and nerd out on its impressive cocktail and small plates menu. The bartenders and servers make great company, and take comfort in knowing that shareable food menu (featuring beef tartar, vegan Escar-No, and shrimp cocktails) does not need to be shared.

Antojitos Southwest

Getting down on a plate of quesabirria can get messy: Pan-fried using red chili-stained fatty broth, oozing with chunks of meat and cheese, it’s really are best when dipped in consomme. Avoid an audience, and for a stellar solo quesabirria experience, the Antojitos Southwest taco truck is the spot, available from noon to 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Johnny Noodle King

Getting a table at Johnny Noodle King in Southwest Detroit can sometimes be tricky for a party of two, let alone larger groups, especially during the cold winter months when everyone is craving a piping hot bowl of ramen. This is why it’s worth trying to snag a solo stool at the bar. Slurp away in peace on any number of ramen dishes, like the always popular tonkotsu with pork broth, pork belly, and black garlic oil. (Besides, who’s going to care if you have garlic breath?)

Duly's Place Coney Island

No one’s every really dining alone at Duly’s; the gruff, old-school coney in Southwest Detroit is almost always buzzing, whether by the late night crowds, breakfast lovers, or neighborhood locals. Oh, and don’t forget the sassy servers, who enjoy a good ribbing or telling it like it is. Just be sure to bring cash, because cards aren’t accepted.

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