As the great 20th century philosopher Pat Benatar once said, “Love is a Battlefield.” And the landscape of those battlefields has changed greatly. Gone are the days of the meet cutes in the produce aisle of the grocery store reaching for same juicy ripe peach (although the “I Saw U” section of Folio is trying to keep them alive). Today’s battle for the heart is now taking place online, for better or for worse. There’s a myriad of dating sites available for today’s soldier of love: Tinder, Bumble, Grindr, Match, eHarmony, FarmersOnly, the list goes on and on.
And with most first dates, going out to a restaurant remains a popular choice. I polled the writers here at JRR and we are here to assist as you navigate this fog of war known as online dating. So we present to you, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, the best places to take a Tinder date for any kind of scenario. *
*Disclaimer: All scenarios may not be covered. Your mileage may vary. This information is for entertainment purposes only and is not intended as actual dating advice. If your symptoms last longer than four hours, please contact your doctor immediately. Please date responsibly. Jax Restaurant Reviews is not responsible if your date crashes and burns.
Best place in case you end up with a Stage 5 Clinger
Stage 5 Clingers are tricky. Because of their nature, it can be difficult to escape a date. What you must do here is create separation then make your move. Here are a couple of restaurants that can help you do that.
The key here is viable escape routes. Most restaurants have one entrance and exit for customers, but Terra Gaucha has a few layout and service features that lend itself well to escaping the clutches of a Stage 5 Clinger. The bathrooms are located at the front of the restaurant near the entrance. Make sure your date is sitting facing away from the front and if the date is spiraling, excuse yourself to the bathroom, slip out the door and Bob’s your uncle. Also, because Terra Gaucha is a buffet, you can use the gourmet salad and hot bar to your advantage. As your date gets a second helping of some wonderful cured meats and authentic Brazilian hot sides, head for the parking lot and don’t look back. Please note – If you plan on ditching your date, do the right thing and pay at least your portion of the date. This will take some prep work as you’ll need to meet with your waiter away from your date to pull this off. The least you can do is not stick your date with the entire check.
Dave & Busters
Dave & Busters is ideal for escaping a Stage 5 Clinger. It’s built like a Vegas casino. Large floor plan with no windows in the gaming area and lots of bright lights and noise, AKA distractions. And distractions are your friend in situations like this. Whatever game they like to play, whether traditional video games or the ones that spit out tickets, you choose the opposite. The games are usually situated opposite each other and therefore just outside the eye line of your date. While they’re distracted with skee-ball, make a beeline for the exit.
Best place if you want to look like a baller, but you really frontin’
So your bank account doesn’t quite match your aspirations. Champagne wishes on a beer budget, as it were. That shouldn’t stop you from showing your date a good first impression, even if it means you can’t afford a second impression.
13 Gypsies is a beautiful, intimate restaurant. Perfect for a romantic night. The trick to this is to make sure you don’t go hungry. Eat a HotPocket before meeting your date. 13 Gypsies offer a tapas (small plates) style menu and while delicious means you’ll have to order a few to get full. Order too much and you’ll rack up a $100 bill quicker than you can say “Overdraft Protection.” And there goes next month’s rent. Go in half full and order the Roman Style Gnocchi for $12 and you should be able to confidently push the plate away and say, “Oh, I just couldn’t eat another bite.” Your date, in an effort not to look overindulgent, may follow suit and only order one or maybe two tapas plates. Play it right and you could walk out under $30 after tip. You’re welcome.
Best place to see if your date is really up for whatever
You’re an adventurous, free-spirited, free-wheeling adventurer. You’ll try anything once. Looking to see if your dating partner has the same daring attitude? These places are all about the adventure; about trying the unknown. Go on a date here to see what happens.
Ibex Ethiopian Kitchen
Chances are, Ethiopian food is probably something your date hasn’t eaten before. Ethiopian food at Ibex is served in the traditional fashion…No utensils. Food is eaten with your hands, scooping up the goodness with the spongey bread that comes with every entrée. If your date isn’t afraid of getting their hands a little dirty, then Ibex Ethiopian Kitchen can be your ticket on the love train.
Timwah Dim Sum
Two words. Chicken. Feet. There is no greater dividing line of the adventurous and the ordinary than what one does when they encounter a steaming pot of unctuous, delicious chicken feet. Besides the intimidating look of a chicken foot, there’s the action of actually eating it. It’s not a dainty food and you’ll look fairly ridiculous trying to work your way around it. If your date looks at it and then looks at you wondering what kind of crazy person eats this kind of food, then you might be with someone that likes to take a more conservative approach to life and risk-taking. Nothing wrong with that, just know there’s no jumping in the ocean fully clothed later in the evening. But if they look at it and you with wide eyes and an even wider smile, then you’ve found yourself a potential keeper.
Best place to go the next morning if the date went really well
You put yourself out there. You went on a Tinder date with moderate expectations. But beyond all expectations, you and your date clicked. Sparks flew. Love at first sight. Your serotonin levels were off the chart. Dinner turned to dessert, which turned into drinks and one thing led to another and…well, you know.
Dano’s Diner is tucked away in a strip mall on Mayport Rd. A great place to go for breakfast if you’re both looking to avoid the “walk of shame” in front of people you may know. They offer down home traditional breakfasts stocked with all the good stuff that will help ease any hangover you may have from a night of debauchery.
There is no judgement at a Waffle House. Come as you are. Even if you’re wearing the same clothes as last night. No shame here. Order some of their patented hash browns smothered, covered, chunked, and diced. Share a knowing grin as you share a waffle and wonder where this person’s been all your life.
We hope we helped you as you traverse the unknown world of online dating, at least from a restaurant perspective. Dating is hard, but with a little preparation and some flexibility for the unknown, we think you can make it through the other side relatively unscathed.