Let’s say you have an hour between a class in MLB and a meeting in North Quad. You’re starving but don’t have time to go home. You’ve checked Merge and none of your friends are free. Unless you coordinated your entire schedule with a friend, the reality is there will be times when you just need to eat … alone.
I find myself in this position all the time, and I have become an expert at finding the best places to go. I know better than to be caught eating alone in Sava’s, Sadako or East Quad, but I also can’t live off of the tiny bites offered at Starbucks or Bert’s.
Have no fear! I have personally tested the waters to give you this definitive list of the best places to go by yourself without feeling like a total loner.
Pretty obvious, but it’s one of my go-to spots. There are a lot of different food options, comfy seating (including a downstairs area at the North University location that is so underrated) and free wifi. Also, it’s in a really convenient location if you need to be near North Quad or MLB.
2. Bruegger’s Bagels:
As a general rule, places with extensive coffee drink selections and free wifi are great to go to alone; they want to compete with Starbucks or Espresso Royale and become your hang out/study spot (this rule goes for Panera as well). But they have more food options. My one complaint is that the music is a little too loud to be background music. I found it annoyingly distracting while I was trying to study and all I could hear was “Counting Stars.”
Though it is a tiny bit out of the way, this market owned by Sava’s is definitely worth the trip. With a case of prepared hot foods and counter style seating, it’s one of my favorite places in Ann Arbor for some quality alone time. Think Sava’s, minus the wait and the scene.
4. Mia Za’s:
If you’re on the South U side of town, Mia Za’s is the Italian chain spot near Revive that has build-your-own salad, sandwich or pasta dishes. Very low key and casual. And tons of seating.
This hidden gem is not just a website (I know, it’s misleading). They have awesome sushi and two separate dining areas – perfect for a lone diner like yourself. You can sit in the smaller seating area away from the tables of four that may be silently judging you (“I swear I’m not anti-social!”). I also love that they bring you hot tea, miso soup and those little ginger salads the second you sit down. Yum.
This one’s almost too obvious for explanation. It falls under the coffee-drink rule (see above) and is mostly worth mentioning because it has two locations, one on State and one next to Rick’s. And self-serve frozen yogurt.
7. New York Pizza Depot:
Believe it or not, this place does exist before Skeeps o’clock. I love how easy and casual it is. If you haven’t been there during the day, give it a try. Also, their chicken and eggplant parm is easily the best in town, just sayin’.