Whether you want to sit down to a meal but none of your friends are around, or you’re looking for a quick bite before class, everyone has to eat by themselves sometimes. And while you shouldn't be afraid to eat alone, these places near campus make it a little easier to enjoy your own company:

Houston Market

At Houston Market, choose from eight unique vendors, offering everything from Bento boxes to deep dish pizzas. With wide steps to sit on at the front and tables plentiful throughout, there's a spot for everyone. A quick look around the space reveals groups of people chatting over lunch and others catching up on mountains of readings by themselves. So if you need to grind through dinner or lunch, you'll be in good company by yourself at Houston Market.

Location: Lower level of Houston Hall

Hours: Mon–Thu, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Fri: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Sat: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Sun: 12 p.m.– 7 p.m.

McClelland Express

Are you a freshman still learning how to love some alone time? Are you looking for a quick breakfast or dinner away from a well–meaning but clingy roommate without having to spend money? With options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, McClelland Express is a great place to go alone thanks to its mix of comfy chairs, tables, and grab–and–go options.

Location: Center of the Quad

Hours: Mon–Fri, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Mon–Thu/Sun, 8 p.m. – 11:59 p.m.


Photo: Beatrice Forman

A line–up of Pod's omakase sushi course.

While definitely on the pricier side, Pod is meant for treating yourself to the finer things in life—premium sake, tasting menus, and fresh sushi. This sushi restaurant is a close walk from campus but will still allow you to take a break from the Penn bubble, if just for the length of a meal. Enjoy lunch or dinner at the sushi bar without fear of asking for a table for one. 

Location: 3636 Sansom St.

Hours: Mon–Thu: 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Fri: 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Sat: 5 p.m.– 11 p.m.

Sun: 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.


This cafe at the edge of Locust Walk is a Penn go–to for some quality coffee and study time. Grab a bagel, pastry, toast, sandwich, or smoothie and take a seat at one of the long, communal tables for a feeling of company that isn't invasive. Or, if you really crave personal space, sit down at your own table and sip your latte solo.

Location: 4000 Locust St.

Hours: Mon–Fri, 6:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Sat–Sun: 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Greek Lady

Greek Lady is Penn's equivalent to a New Jersey diner, offering a diverse menu of breakfast favorites, like fluffy pancakes, Greek delicacies, and cheesesteaks. Sitting on the edge of campus, this is a convenient spot to indulge in a delicious meal while you savor some alone time. Take a number and sit down at a table where you can spread out your books and computer.

Location: 222 S. 40th St.

Hours: Mon–Sun, 9:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.

We get it—eating alone can be daunting, especially when you're accustomed to spending lunch with a large group of friends in a drab, high school cafeteria or fellow interns on a corporate campus. But sometimes, it's necessary to unwind in silence and eat a meal with the best company—yourself.


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