“Table for one.” At most restaurants, that tiny statement is enough to earn you more than a couple confused, if not pitying looks. But not at Amsterdam’s “Eenmaal,” the world’s first self-proclaimed “one-person” restaurant, where tiny tables and single placemats and ample personal space are enough to make anyone feel like a leper, on purpose.
The two-day pop-up opened its doors last Thursday and takes its name from the Dutch word for “once,” according to Google Translate. As in, once I had friends, but they all stayed in our hometown when I moved to the big city. Or once I had a girlfriend but we broke up and she took the dog. Or once I spent my lunch hours at bars chatting up the bartender until I realized he was way out of my league and I would be alone forever and somehow ended up at this awful restaurant that seemingly exists just to reinforce my loneliness.
In all honesty, I like eating by myself, but because I’m a voyeur who loves people watching, not because I enjoy being gawked at, which seems to be the only thing a place like Eenmaal would be good for. Well, that and recreating that perfect seeing-a-gorgeous-stranger-from-across-the-room moment. It’s okay, it’s not like you were going to talk to your dining companion anyway.