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Nearly Empty Restaurants

I love food. I like many restaurants. But, I really dislike crowds. The best restaurant is often a crowded one, so how do I get around this problem?

Generally, I don't go to lunch at noon and I don't dine at six. When we lived in Minneapolis, I learned to visit my favorite lunch spot at 11:30. Great service, fresh food, and twice the executive chef joined me to chat.

In our new community, I've learned that my favorite place is great to visit at 1 p.m. for lunch. The lunch crowd seems to vanish magically right as the lunch hour ends. I've been the only diner several times. I've accidentally arrived too early and found every table occupied.

Empty is ideal.

There are some good places that are intolerable at most times. I know it's not "great food" in a technical sense, but I like Joe's Crab Shack. However, it's annoying at almost any hour unless you can eat outside on the patio. I love seafood, I hate the theatrics. My wife and I end up eating on the patio or in the "back area" of Joe's.

I adored a steakhouse, the Twin City Grill, which is located in the Mall of America. In the midst of the crowds and noise is a dimly lit, old-style steakhouse. There's no loud music. The patrons do not scream above some artificial noise. I miss it.

There are quiet spaces with great food. I hope to find them here in Western Pennsylvania.

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