In theory, restaurants are pretty tough to screw up: your customers give you money; you give them food and make sure they don't see what you're doing to it.
But unfortunately, everyone's trying to get all "fancy" and "graduate student" these days by building their restaurants around a damn thesis -- and most of these themes seem to be plucked from nightmares and rejected spec scripts for The Twilight Zone.
#4. The Sushi Restaurant That Puts You on a Feed Belt
If you love eating out but hate all that "interacting with other humans" business, you can check out this fully automated sushi restaurant in Tokyo. The staff remains entirely out of sight. You simply sit at a table and let the food be brought painlessly to you by a conveyor belt while a computer keeps track of how many customers are currently in the restaurant and how much they're eating, which is just slightly more dehumanizing than the way we feed cattle.
And you thought Waffle House was condescending.
If you're thinking, "Hey, isn't this exactly how our machine overlords will keep us fed once they've taken over the planet?" then you're being foolish, because obviously the machines will garnish our meals with challenging puzzles, which we will complete for their study and then be rewarded with treats. Wait, that happens at this restaurant, too.
Yes, it's a smashing place to dine if you feel like re-enacting Season 3 of Lost. When you're done, you just push the plates down a chute and they get added to your bill and cleaned. Presumably. We don't have any evidence that they collect DNA samples from your leftovers and clone you, but we don't have evidence that they don't do that, either.
#3. The Moscow Restaurant That Only Hires Twins
Twin Stars Diner is a restaurant staffed entirely by twins -- twin greeters, twin waiters, and twin bartenders, which we're sure isn't disorienting at all when you're shitfaced and already seeing double. The Moscow restaurant seems to function entirely on the idea that identical twins don't mind dressing exactly the same (yes, they make them do that), speaking as one, and holding the exact same hours as each other.
"One time Jenny did her braid on the wrong side and we didn't get paid that month."
The restaurant was inspired by a 1960s Soviet-era film called The Kingdom of Crooked Mirrors, which follows a young girl named Olya into a parallel universe where everyone is evil -- but hopefully not by the part where some capitalist aristocrats get poisoned, because that would be pretty bad for business.
Oddly enough, this place isn't the first to do their hiring in pairs: Twins Restaurant in New York City was open from 1994 to 2000 and made their twin sets of waitresses wear psychotically charming signs like "I'm not Lisa" and "I'm not Debbie." Right, as if twins weren't creepy enough without that crap.
#2. The Family Restaurant That Doesn't Let You Speak
Eat is a Brooklyn restaurant holding special "Eat, Don't Speak" meals where no one is allowed to talk while they ingest. The idea came about because one of the chefs spent a semester in India during college. Whereas most people abandon their brilliant college inventions when they realize a car fueled by bongs isn't practical, this guy actually stuck with it and eventually inflicted the "most awkward restaurant in the universe" concept on other people.
Doubly so on Taco Tuesdays.
The restaurant has so far sold out all its tables on each "silent night," proving that what every couple really wants to do on date night is find a way to make their significant other shut the hell up for a minute. (And diners who break the rules are exiled to finish their meals on the bench of shame outside.)
But imagine walking into this place without knowing what's going on and being bludgeoned by the deafening silence. You nervously ask why everyone is so quiet, but no one answers. They just stare. Eventually a waiter hands you a card. It says, "Sir, please put on some trousers or leave."
#1. The Themed Restaurant Where You Eat (and Poop) in David Lynch's Nightmares
David Lynch's films are known for two things, mainly: making the most mundane settings deeply unsettling, and inspiring eating establishments. Most recently, the owners of a restaurant in Vancouver decided to base their business on Twin Peaks, the short-lived TV show about a detective investigating a teenager's murder. Doesn't just reading that sentence whet your appetite?
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"How's the coffee?"
The founders wanted to make a "nice place for their friends to come to," which is why they lined the walls with images of fictional dead teenagers, degenerate killers, and owls watching you as you eat. It's all fairly discomfiting if you're not in on the joke, but the creepiest part is the john:
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"Niaga PT eht lla desu Bob, wa."
Yes, they modeled the bathroom after a hellish outer-dimensional room where demons and other bizarre entities routinely wander in and out, occasionally possessing people. SPOILERS: They're gonna have to replace that bathroom mirror a lot.