As someone who revels in domesticity and is also constantly surrounded by countless friends and family members, I only dine out in the company of a large and boisterous entourage. But for those of you who may not be so privileged, I've surveyed my co-workers for advice on local eateries well-suited to those who tend to go solo. Here's a selection of favorites:
Corner Café (7 E. Vermijo Ave.): Across from the downtown courthouse, this homey restaurant has great food and a higher concentration of solo diners than most. Eavesdrop on judges, jurors, plaintiffs and defendants while enjoying excellent lunch specials that range from down-home barbecue to seared ahi tuna salads.
Poor Richard's (324½ N. Tejon St.): Richard Skorman's casual eatery attracts enough latte-stirring, laptop-staring locals to make you feel completely unnoticed as you discreetly down a plate of crab cakes or spelt-crust pizza.
Rico's Cafe (322 N. Tejon St.): As above (and, in fact, two doors down from the above). Just substitute "casually elegant" for "casual."
Chipotle (Multiple locations): Fast food in an airy Aztec-industrial atmosphere is a good fit for the self-consciously solipsistic. Portions are already super-sized and generally a lot healthier than what's served in collectible Avatar cups and Happy Meal boxes.
Bhan Thai (1025 N. Academy Blvd., 4431 Centennial Blvd.): Take a casual atmosphere in which you order at the counter instead of from My Name Is Troy And I'll Be Your Server This Evening, and add some of the best Asian food in town. A winning combination.
La Casita Patio Café (Multiple locations): We're again talking about quick counter service and casual dining. La Casita offers affordable, freshly prepared Mexican food accompanied by the yin and yang of hot salsa and sparkling alcoholic beverages. After all, you're never truly alone with an ice cold beer.
King's Chef Diner (110 E. Costilla St., 131 E. Bijou St.): You're also never alone at King's Chef, whether you choose the original weird little castle or its comparatively spacious big brother. Burgers and burritos are the coin of the realm, and the green chili is famously lethal. Owner Gary Geiser is also generous with the witty repartee and somehow manages to be in all places at once, so if you're at the counter, he'll probably join you.
I could go on, but I'm kind of hungry now. Plus, the entourage is getting impatient.