"Adam and Eve on a raft! Wreck 'em!" I first heard this phrase on an episode of "I Love Lucy" where the gang of four bought a diner to run together and then of course things fell apart and hilarity ensued. The term is diner lingo for 2 scrambled eggs with toast and it came to mind when I was thinking of places for solo eaters to dine. And of course, what better way to get a decent meal at a decent price when by yourself than at a diner--a place as ubiquitous to American eating as pie.

A diner is described as a prefab restaurant building. The first diner supposedly made it's appearance over 140 years ago in Rhode Island with a dude and horse drawn wagon. (Though I guess you could also argue this was the first food truck too.) It has morphed over the years to also include places that serve up food that is "distinctly American" such breakfast, hamburgers, sandwiches and other hearty fare we serve up in the states. These places usually also have vinyl booths, long formica counters with spinning booths and a kitchen that is visible to the general eating area. But let's face it, we all have visions of greasy spoons with fat guys in yellow stained tank tops slamming dingers with their spatulas while calling for a pick-up to sometimes haggard, overly made up waitress with their hair in bun that call you sugar, darling and sweetie with just a twinge of snark built up from years of seen it all done it all table waiting while asking for your order. (And yes I know you are all thinking about Flo and Mel's Diner from "Alice" as was I.) For me, it's this kind of down home food and 'tude that make them perfect places to seek out for single eaters.

Some of the many things that make them great include: a lot are open 24 hours so you can dine anytime; they (usually) have ample counter stool seating so you can just run in, plop down and eat; they serve breakfast all day!; they have booths that are small size and tables that seat two or one; the waiters and waitresses don't even give single diners a second look--they are used to solo eating--remember, been there, seen that; the food is mostly decent basic cuisine--nothing too fancy that won't fit your taste buds; the prices are a pretty good value--and many have blue plate specials for early diners; most neighborhoods have one--easy access. And most importantly of all to me--you won't feel self conscious eating here alone because you won't be the only one by yourself. Just take a spin around on the stool and you will see retired old guys, workers on lunch/dinner break, tourists on the go, etc. enjoying a quick meal before heading out on their way.

Granted, depending on what time of day you decide to hit up a place you may also see--scary homeless person with a roller cart, drunk guy falling asleep on his burger, stoner girl staring off and contemplating particles in the air or any number of San Francisco characters which works to your advantage also as it takes the view off you and onto them. Plus added advantage, it gives you people entertainment while you consume your meal. More than likely there will also be a large television hanging up or on the counter somewhere for distraction. There should also be a stack of leftover daily newspapers by the front door that you can peruse while you eat too. And while in this day and age and town it is mostly okay to stare and surf on your phone--don't take a laptop into a diner--it's the totally wrong space and time for that, take a book or magazine instead if you need reading material besides your phone. Diners are for running into to grab quick meal, they are not for lounging for hours doing work. Trust me when I tell you the waitress will give you the cross-eye and probably spill coffee on you if you do that because you are taking up booth space and cutting into her tips and that is a big diner no-no. 

As previously stated there are diners all over this town and there is probably one near you now, but here's a list anyway of some of the ones I've enjoyed over the years. (Including the ones pictured)

A couple caveats here about the list above--this is a brief list, if you know more places please feel free to post them in comments. I'm not necessarily recommending them as acknowledging them--food at some can be hit or miss depending on your mood and level of drunkenness. Though sticking to basics--burgers and breakfast is always okay. Also some of them, as you see, use cafe in their name, but let's be real, if you've been to one and seen it, their look and feel is very much classic diner.  But regardless of your favorite, or where you go, or what you get--just get out and don't worry so much that you are eating solo, because the diner staff won't even give your single self a second look--unless you show up totally naked, and even then in San Francisco, it's debatable.