By Mike Pomranz
Updated October 08, 2015
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The most popular baby names of 2015 were Liam and Emma. Presumably last on that list? Quinoa. But as a promotional campaign for their new quinoa bowls, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse offered up $10,000 in free food at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse to any parent willing to name their newborn after the ancient grain. Who collected on the 10 grand in wings and burgers? We don’t know. BJ’s said the winners are only available if you send them a “self-addressed stamped envelope” requesting the information. At the time of writing ours has not been returned. Maybe we should have tried mailing a potato instead. They seem to arrive promptly.
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Remember when there was a stigma around dining alone? Apparently that was back before people spent most of their meals staring at their phones regardless of their company, because now new data supports that diners are fine with being left to their own devices.

Online reservation site OpenTable recently released internal numbers showing that reservations for one are their fastest growing table party size. Over the past two years, solo dining reservations are up 62 percent. The company’s analysis also showed that Dallas is the metropolitan area that’s seen the strongest growth in single diners, followed in order by Miami, Denver, New York, Philadelphia, Las Vegas and Chicago.

“As dining out has become one of our national pastimes, solo diners are taking every opportunity to visit top restaurants whenever they get the opportunity, much as they might attend a sporting event or show,” Caroline Potter, chief dining officer at OpenTable, said in a press release. Wait? Are people going to sporting events and shows alone now? I mean, I’m fine with having a meal at the bar, but I definitely don’t want to be seen at a Detroit Lions game by myself.

Regardless, it’s good to see people are getting comfortable with having a meal by themselves. Maybe one day, eating alone at a restaurant will be as stigma-free as drinking alone at a bar. At least that’s what those of us who love drinking alone at bars hope.