» By CONOR SCRUTON – cscruton@my.apsu.edu

I have to admit, when my All State coeditors first came to me and excitedly announced I was going on a date for this week’s Valentine’s Day edition, I was a little apprehensive. I’m single, and the excitement my coworkers showed in suggesting date ideas was sort of unsettling.

While they happily toyed with the possibilities of speed dating and blind dating, I decided it would be safer to find a date myself before they resorted to searching through Craigslist personals. Luckily for me, my best friend Shelley Starkey didn’t have any problem with sharing dinner.

I should first point out it isn’t always easy to find a romantic restaurant in Clarksville. Being a tech-savvy college student, I resorted to Google before anything else.

However, using the “romantic” filter on some food review sites only brought up sports bars and, oddly enough, Denny’s. (Before I go further, I should point out to my male readers, taking your date to Denny’s is never a good idea, especially on Valentine’s Day.)

From some friends’ referrals, I finally settled on The Looking Glass Restaurant and Gourmet Bakery. It’s located at 329 Warfield Blvd., and has built up a fair reputation. The Looking Glass received five-star ratings from Orbitz and Yahoo.com and has been called the best restaurant in town by The Leaf Chronicle.

Despite all the hype, I’d never been to the restaurant and really had no idea what to expect. From the moment we walked in the door, I realized the décor was a nod to “Through the Looking-Glass,” a sequel to “Alice in Wonderland.”

The restaurant’s light purple interior features tables and chairs painted in colorful patterns and various kites dangling from the ceiling. While this may sound a bit eccentric for a romantic date, most of the lighting comes from candles and soft Christmas lights, giving the place a quiet, low-key atmosphere that’s actually really nice.

Being college students and low on cash, we just went for dessert rather than a whole meal. The Looking Glass has a lot of coffee options I would recommend for my fellow caffeine addicts, but their dessert menu is the real deal. The bakery’s menu varies slightly day to day, but you’ll basically be safe with any choice on the menu.

Their cheesecake is honestly among the best I’ve had, and ordering one slice gives you enough to keep some leftovers stashed away in your dorm mini-fridge — which is exactly what we did.

To add to The Looking Glass’s whimsical atmosphere, in warmer weather there is an outdoor Zen garden where guests can dine, and live music is a regular evening feature. Despite being a nicer restaurant, The Looking Glass’s prices aren’t too high. Also, they open at 7 a.m. for any couples interested in a romantic brunch.

So if you’re stumped for Valentine’s ideas, I can personally say my semi-romantic date at The Looking Glass was a success. Here’s hoping yours will be, too. TAS