Dining by yourself in public can be an awkward experience, but not if you are at Eenmaal. This Dutch restaurant, named after the Dutch word ‘single’ or ‘one meal’, is filled with tables that can only accommodate one diner at a time. Created by two Dutch design agencies, Eenmaal aims to break the social taboo associated with eating alone and is probably the only place where you can comfortably eat without being labeled a “loner.” Unfortunately, Eenmaal is not permanent. It’s an experimental pop-up restaurant that was first launched in June 2013 in Amsterdam following which the restaurant received a lot of national and international media attention inspiring the founders to follow up with several pop-ups, and even expanding the concept to London last January. Marina Van Goor, its creator, has plans to bring the pop-up restaurant to other European cities and to New York as well. She is even toying with the idea of opening a permanent branch in London.
The restaurant’s dining experience begins with a cocktail amidst fellow diners in a group setting, after which the diners were escorted to their solitary table. Diners are asked to put away their cell phones for the entire duration of the three-course meal and are instead encouraged to read a book or magazine. The restaurant features 10 tables for individuals and the interior decor is kept absolutely minimal to avoid distraction giving them the chance to appreciate the delicious, hand-selected menu.
About her restaurant, Marina van Goor told in an interview to Freunde von Freunden: “The launch of Eenmaal produced more than we could have hoped for: a global conversation about eating out alone. Apparently, this is as innovative an idea in the Netherlands as it is in Brazil, China and India. Print media, radio and television producers the world over have covered it and we’ve received very positive reactions via social media, blogs and from the visitors who ate there for the first time. One visitor summed up the concept behind Eenmaal particularly well by commenting, 'this restaurant transforms an uncomfortable situation into something comfortable'. Solitary dining can be an inspiring experience in our hyper connected world just because you can disconnect for a while.”
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