4 Theme Restaurants Clearly Designed by Crazy People
For most of us, eating out is a simple luxury that fulfills one simple need: to stave off starvation in the laziest way possible. But for others, eating out is a form of entertainment akin to a 1920s freakshow or the act of ogling a tuft of chin hairs on one's own grandmother.
And thankfully for those of us who simply wish to shovel in our nutrients without smoke and mirrors, these gourmands tend to pen themselves in temporary "pop-up" restaurants. Here are four new restaurants you should probably avoid, unless you consider carbohydrates and Vitamin B12 performance art.
Tink's House Wants You to Get Intimate With Strangers
Tink's House in Los Angeles describes itself as "an immersive dining experience and sensory installation where the food and the environment work together to present familiar concepts in an unfamiliar way," which reads like a tacit admission that the proprietors have fuck-all to say about the quality of the food itself.
Diners are placed in a group of strangers and served four courses in four rooms with different themes: a den, a dining room, a kitchen, and a bedroom. For example, snack-like appetizers are served in the den, which is covered in sand and plays "trippy" music to suggest that you're at the beach, even though you're clearly in an apartment that's probably used to film porn and/or sell drugs in the off-hours.
"Does anyone have sunscreen? I always get burned at the beach."
We're told that the rooms are intended to draw on the familiar sensations of being at home. That means the dining room is supposed to feel "rigid and formal." This is accomplished by sticking a giant cactus in the middle of eight tiny orange nylon tables, just like all those formal family dinners you had as a kid.
"It's just like when we would go to Nana's and worship the cactus god."
Note that the goal of Tink's House is to create an intimate, communal dining experience that encourages conversation with total strangers, which is precisely what everyone wants when dining out. They claim it's "not supposed to be awkward," which adds further evidence to our theory that the designers have never actually been to a restaurant before. At least their pay-what-you-want scheme means you'll get your money's worth.
Tincan Tests How Stupid People Are by Serving Only Canned Fish
On the opposite end of the "feel free to stiff us on the bill if you hated this" spectrum is London's Tincan, with its "let's see how much we can get people to pay for glorified cat food" ethos. Tincan sells only canned fish, offering you the privilege of spending up to $36 per can for what you'd normally eat for $2.50 at home, where it comes with a free side of overwhelming ennui.
And the large window means everyone can judge you.
To be clear, they're not using canned food as the basis of a meal that has additional ingredients or any sort of thought or effort put into it. No, they crack open a can, dump the contents into a bowl and tell you to eat up with all the emotion that you'd put into feeding your dog.
So if you love eating food for lonely single people too lazy or incompetent to cook, but hate all the effort of pulling back a tab, finding a fork, and spending five seconds rinsing the bowl when you're done, Tincan is the sad place for you.
You've never heard "bon appetit" said so sarcastically before.
From a business standpoint, it's a brilliant concept. You need only one employee, there's no expensive kitchen, and when anyone points out that you're charging like an 800 percent markup on what are probably expired cans the owner pulled from the back of their pantry, you can say something ridiculous about how you're trying to "elevate the tin to an object of desire." We guess "we want to trick people who think they're artsy into wasting money" was too on the nose.
Multiple Restaurants Want to Bring You Back to Pan Am Glory Days
Nobody thinks too hard about airline food, unless you happen to be a time-traveling 1980s stand-up comedian. But multiple restaurateurs still labor under the delusion that there's a powerful sense of nostalgia for airline meals. Specifically, they're hoping to rope in those customers who have fond memories of flying Pan Am, as evidenced by 2011's hit TV series Pan Am, which continues to air popular episodes and rake in awards to this day. Anyway, "passengers" at The Pan Am Experience in L.A. receive boarding passes and get to wait around in a boarding area, because we all know that people fly primarily for the long waits and the fun of sitting and eating a meal in a cramped chair.
The fact that you end up in an entirely different city is just an amusing side-effect.
You're served cocktails and a five-course meal by waitr- sorry, flight attendants in authentic uniforms, while also being given the opportunity to browse an extensive display of aeronautic memorabilia in what sounds like an attempt to tap that lucrative demographic of aviation enthusiasts who wish to re-create their grandfathers' preferred modes of sexual harassment.
But even if the meal is delicious, the price tag is heavy: a seat can cost as much as $300. That's more expensive than some actual flights. Hey, remember how Pan Am failed because they were a bloated company providing needless glamor in an industry where most customers just want cheap convenience? Probably not; that's how long ago they went under.
Then there's Mile High: Destination London, based in, you guessed it, Manhattan. It's the same basic concept, except you don't actually eat on a plane. Instead you get drunk with the "crew" and sing karaoke, although we're not sure what that has to do with air travel, because we guarantee that karaoke isn't done on flights thanks to the statistical correlation between intoxicated renditions of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and hijacking attempts.
"For an extra $20 I will personally be a dick to you."
Dine Like a Death-Row Inmate
Regardless of what you think of the death penalty, you probably agree that executions shouldn't be sensationalized. So we can't begin to imagine what the thought process behind Death Row Dinners was, although perhaps we're being generous by assuming there was one at all. For $81, diners "experience a night behind the bars of one of London's toughest security restaurants" and are served replicas of last meals that prisoners have requested.
Even if you ignore the obvious flaw (the restaurant's creators attempting to profit from human suffering), inmates' last meals tend to be full-blown culinary disasters. You don't exactly count calories when you're being killed the next morning, so last meals often consist of tons of greasy food, decadent desserts, and liters of soda. We're not sure the typical restaurant-goer wants to sweat through a pizza, a cheeseburger, and a half-dozen tacos in one sitting, and if they do they're probably not going to pay $81 for the privilege.
"Eh, cheaper than what we had to pay."
But we'll never know if customers would murder their toilets the following morning, as the project was put on hold after public outrage made the creators of the restaurant realize that the project was insensitive, and also kind of stupid. After organizers considered "their next steps" -- which was a diplomatic way of saying that they're wondering what the hell to do with hundreds upon hundreds of fried chicken breasts, pints of strawberry ice cream, and liters of Dr Pepper -- the event was canceled, with organizers claiming they received death threats. Say what you will about the banality of fast food, but the Hamburglar never has to put up with this shit.
You can read more from Mark at his website.
For more stomach terror, see 4 Disgusting Ingredients Restaurants Secretly Added to Food and 4 New Fast Food Deals (for People Who Hate Themselves).