30 of America's Strangest Restaurants You Need to Try
Going out to eat doesn’t have to mean getting boring fast food or a trip to the neighborhood spot where everybody knows your name. From elaborate and immersive dinner theater shows to wildly decorated themed restaurants, dining out can be as fun and exciting as a trip to the club.
Next time you’re feeling like you’re stuck in a restaurant rut, grab some friends and make a reservation at one of these totally wild restaurants for a dining experience you’ll never forget.
Heart Attack Grill
Located in downtown Las Vegas, the hospital-themed Heart Attack Grill isn’t (ahem) for the faint of heart. The waitresses wear nurse uniforms and the famous menu features items like the Double Bypass Burger, Flatliner Fries and even a Coronary Dog. It’s a gut-busting ode to the pleasures (and pain) of the unhealthiest foods imaginable.
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It's incredibly important to have a strong support system when taking on our Octuple Bypass Burger. This patient made sure to bring the best he had when he checked in. Instead of watching as she ate a single his partner in crime went with the Triple Bypass Burger. While spankings may have happened at least they can say they did their best together here at the Heart Attack Grill. #heartattackgrill
Ninja New York
Be prepared for anything at Ninja New York, which transforms a Tribeca basement into a ninja playground. The entire restaurant is designed to look like a traditional Japanese village. Each table is set back into its own little pagoda, plus there are hidden doors and windows everywhere from which the ninja staff stealthily appear to deliver food and drinks.
The Yurt at Solitude
Utah’s Solitude Mountain Resort isn’t just a haven for winter sports enthusiasts — it also features one of the most unique dining experiences in the country. Diners who book a meal at The Yurt don’t simply take the elevator or walk down to the restaurant. Instead, they bundle up, strap on a pair of snowshoes and follow a guide on a half-mile hike through the forest for an unforgettable meal.
Located in the cellar basement of Bubes Brewery in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, The Catacombs pay homage to its 19th-century roots with their menu which offers classic German beer hall fare with an upscale twist. Diners can take a tour of the brewery — which was founded in 1876 by a German immigrant named Alois Bube — before descending several stories into the cellar, which was once used to age lager.
Whether you’re a guest at Seven Springs Lodge in Tuscumbia, Alabama, or simply passing through, you’ll love the rustic atmosphere and gorgeous natural beauty of Rattlesnake Saloon. The main bar is located in a cave formed by a massive cliff overhang and a natural waterfall right in the middle — the ideal backdrop for kicking back and enjoying a drink or two.
Fife & Drum at Northeast Correctional Center
Fife & Drum has created an exciting, modern take on New American cuisine in a New England atmosphere. But surprisingly, the restaurant is located inside the Northeast Correctional Center in West Concord, Massachusetts. It’s the centerpiece of a 22-year-old program that trains soon-to-be-released inmates in the culinary arts and is the country’s sole prison restaurant.
If you’ve ever dreamed of being the next James Bond, but Hollywood never came calling, don’t despair. A meal at this spy-themed restaurant is guaranteed to scratch that 007 itch. A refuge for the hungry spies of Milwaukee and Chicago, SafeHouse delivers an unforgettable dining experience inside a top-secret location accessible only to those who know the password.
The Airplane Restaurant
The Airplane Restaurant of Colorado Springs, Colorado, is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a full-service restaurant that seats 42 diners inside a 1950s Boeing fuel tanker. The aircraft was retired in the 1970s, but in 2002, it was reopened as an aviation-themed restaurant for special occasions, parties or spicing up a weeknight outing.
Twins Creek Cafe at Frank Kent Honda
If you’ve ever spent an afternoon at a car dealership and thought to yourself, “I could really go for a coriander-chicken salad right now,” you’ll love Twin Creeks Cafe in Fort Worth, Texas. The restaurant is located inside (yes... inside) a Honda dealership. Buy a new car, get a great meal. What’s not to love?
When this Japanese ramen chain opened up in New York City in 2018, lines wrapped around the block. Hungry diners anxiously waited to try the rich tonkotsu broth the chain is known for. But even more intriguing was Ichiran’s unique take on the dining experience itself. Every seat in the restaurant is its own cubicle-like booth. The set-up requires almost no human interaction, thereby allowing the diner to eat and contemplate in solitude.
Auto Spa Bistro
It’s no secret that Americans lead busy lives. Most people would probably say washing their cars is pretty low on their priority list. Luckily, Atlanta’s Auto Spa Bistro offers a delicious multitasking concept: You drop your car off for a wash, have lunch and boom! You’re on your way in your spotless ride.
If you ever find yourself in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, don’t miss this one-of-a-kind restaurant that combines a lumberjack competition (featuring professional lumberjacks) with a variety of fast-casual restaurants from Food Network star Paula Deen for a night of fun the whole family will enjoy. Because who knew watching men chop wood while eating barbecue went together like PB&J?
One of the hottest trends in the European dining scene over the last few years has been the concept of “dining in the dark,” which is...well, exactly what it sounds like. Diners eat their entire meal sans illumination (which is harder than it sounds) for a one-of-a-kind, sensory experience. This dark restaurant, located in chic Santa Monica, California, delivers a fine-dining adventure that will completely change your view of the act of eating.
Casa Bonita has been serving up authentic Mexican fare alongside one of the wildest dinner shows in the country for over 40 years. Located just outside Denver, this Colorado landmark makes a statement with its 85-foot-tall castle tower facade and massive water fountain that was imported from Mexico. The interior is even more extravagant, and features a three-story high waterfall that empties out into a 14-foot deep pool.
The Tonga Room
Mid-century Tiki culture is alive and well at Tonga Room, located in the basement of the iconic Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. This kitschy haven was right on-trend when it opened in the mid-1950s, but now its vintage tropical decor and menu of Polynesian-fusion cuisine is a welcome throwback for locals and visitors alike.
Approach the register at The Varsity, and you'll be greeted by a friendly "What’ll ya have?" A family-owned fixture in downtown Atlanta since it opened in 1928, The Varsity once touted itself as the world’s largest drive-in restaurant. It has been visited by two U.S. presidents: George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Dollar Bill Bar
Located within a luxury resort in the Florida Keys, this seafood-focused bar and restaurant has been serving guests for over 60 years. The tropical, open-air restaurant provides stunning waterfront views and is swimming in money...literally. Known to the locals as “Dollar Bill Bar,” every square inch of the interior is covered in $1 bills, each one scrawled with a patron’s name for posterity.
Experience the future from the safety of now at Mad Rex — a theatrical, post-apocalyptic-themed restaurant in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia. The ambitious venture opened in 2017 and boasts a full restaurant and bar, an event stage and a virtual reality room that lets guests explore how they’d fare at the end of the world.
About a hundred years ago, this Phoenix warehouse was where locals bought their produce. Now, it’s a restaurant, coffee bar and gym. Oh, there’s also a retro vintage shop where owners Steve and Andi Rosenstein sell antiques, clothes and other items they’ve collected on their travels around the world. The complex takes up an entire city block and is so packed with things to do and eat, you’ll never have the same experience twice.
This San Francisco fixture may have temporarily moved to Seattle (while it works to find a new home in the Bay Area), but that hasn’t stopped the dinner-circus show from finding new ways to thrill and impress diners. It’s an interesting combination of a comedy show, acrobatic performance and cabaret event which draws inspiration from around the world and leaves audiences gasping.
A colorful, chaotic fixture since the 1970s, the Bubble Room is known for its eclectic decor and sprawling menu which features dishes you can’t find anywhere else. Located on the scenic Captiva Island on Florida’s eastern shore, the restaurant is known for its over-the-top, year-round Christmas decor that inspired the longtime catchphrase, “It’s always Christmas at the Bubble Room.”
Charlie Russell Chew Choo
It’s full steam ahead for a night of adventure aboard this Montana dinner-train experience, which offers diners stunning views of Big Sky Country. Riders are encouraged to pre-book for the ride, which lasts three and a half hours and snakes through hills, farmland and wide open areas filled with wildlife like antelope, eagles, hawks and coyotes. The train tracks date back to 1912, making a ride on the Charlie Russel Chew Choo a real trip back in time.
With over 100 colleges and universities in the area, Cambridge can feel... well, a little young. Next time you’re in the mood for something a little more daring than a sports bar, hop on the Red Line to Central Square and settle in for the night at the retro, 1940s-themed Cuchi Cuchi.
Tommy Gun’s Garage
If the phrase “audience interactive speakeasy” doesn’t make you want to crawl under a table and hide, then a night at Tommy Gun’s Garage is for you. This Chicago theater-restaurant embraces the city’s legendary (and lethal) legacy of crime with a 1920s Prohibition theme that will take you back in time.
Pirate’s Dinner Adventure
So, you know about medieval dinner theater, gangster dinner shows and even traditional Tiki dinner shows. But did you know there’s a pirate-themed dinner show anchored in Orlando, Florida? Pirate’s Dinner Adventure’s interactive performance is perfect for families and parties looking for something novel — so get ready to set sail for a night of dastardly adventure!
Joanie’s Blue Crab Cafe
When you say you want a restaurant with a view, you probably think of someplace with a bird’s-eye view of a twinkling city below. But that’s not what you’ll get at Joanie’s Blue Crab Cafe — a no-frills seafood shack deep in the Florida Everglades. What you will see, however, is alligators...and lots of them.
Magic Time Machine
It’s a little hard to describe this offbeat Texas mini-chain that has locations in both Dallas and San Antonio. The funky decor could be described as “pop culture fantasy gone wild,” with no two tables alike. The friendly servers wear costumes and interact with the diners and — oh yeah! — there’s a 1952 Roadster that’s been converted to a soup and salad bar.
What if doing laundry was...fun? That’s the concept behind Texas’ Harvey Washbangers, which combines a state-of-art laundromat with a full-service restaurant for a night of adulting that feels like anything but. Here’s how it works: Load your laundry into one of the self-service machines, then walk on over to the restaurant and grab a bite to eat while you wait.
Any true Tiki fan needs to pay a visit to Mai-Kai, which opened outside Fort Lauderdale in 1956 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Mai-Kai was the lifelong dream of brothers Bob and Jack Thornton, who were so enamored with a childhood visit to the legendary Chicago Tiki bar Don the Beachcomber that they decided to open up their own grand Polynesian bar.
Sure, you’ve seen the movie more times than you can count and consider Lydia Deetz a personal style icon. But you haven’t lived until you’ve had a drink with the bio-exorcist himself at Beetle House, a New York City bar dedicated to all things Beetlejuice. Don’t worry West Coast fans – there’s a Beetle House L.A., too.