Unusual restaurants aren’t unusual anymore. Weird dining experiences with a unique take on menu, staff, interiors, and location, are often the most memorable.
There are so many references out there for chefs and managers to start bringing some quirkiness to their restaurant concept.
Some of the most well-known unconventional ideas include blindfolded, virtual-reality, or naked dining - not to mention those extreme locations like underwater or on high altitudes for panoramic dining.
Restaurant decoration and wall art can also make a huge difference in creating a similarly immersive restaurant experience - and you won't have to win the jackpot to build your new restaurant somewhere in the clouds.
Finally, while pop-up events are not unconventional by themselves, you can be entirely creative and dream up a theme that will fulfill a remarkable dining experience for your customers.
Are you eager to innovate your restaurant design and surprise your guests with an over-the-top ambiance?
Here’s a dose of inspiration:
Quirky interior design and themed menus
Experimenting with your interior design is a smart way to go - but hey, don’t forget to keep your menu in with the theme too!
One of the greatest examples of unique restaurant interiors and menu concepts is the one of the Beetle House in NYC, a world where every day gets spooky and feels like Halloween. Their aesthetic is inspired by horror culture and cinematic works of Tim Burton and Alfred Hitchcock and it extends from the decor to plating and menu items including Edward Burger Hands, Frankenfries, or Willy Wings.
The concept was born in 2016 as a pop-up event, but it became so popular that it found a permanent location in NY three years later, as well as a new branch in LA within a space suited for 500 people.
An unconventional service
Your front of house staff can surprise your customers from the very first moment they step into your restaurant. Some of the best quirky restaurant concepts are all about triggering customers with unexpected service.
Believe it or not, in the most bizarre case, by swearing at them. You can check out The Weiners Circle in Chicago, a spot offering the rawest human interaction you can ever ask for - even during these times, their staff serve irony at their best and very kindly remind us to “get our asses charred from a safe distance”.
Another playful take on the restaurant service team can be found at is the one of Twins Restaurant in NYC, a spot owned by and staffed with identical twins only - in total, there are 37 pairs working at the same shift and wearing the same uniform.
Their motto, “you can only make a first impression once you make it twice”, applies to different elements such as a twin guest book, double-sided business card, or double doorknobs.
Rethinking the traditional restaurant space and dining experience
Some of the most unusual restaurant experiences consist of special locations like abandoned railroad cars or double decker busses turned into dining areas.
And if the thrill of sitting in such places is not enough, some might even take you for a ride - as for the case of Bistro 1759, a trolleybus driving around The Grove the shopping center in West Hollywood. L.A.’s beloved shopping mall has redesigned its moving trolley into a high-end restaurant experience available until the 31st of August 2021, serving a four-course meal from Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill to groups of up to 9 people per ride.
In other cases, restaurants are just not simple dining spaces - think about the Sweatlodge in Chicago, the well-known spot offering Bania, a traditional Russian sauna experience only for men, and serving typical delicacies like borscht or chicken soup. Sounds like a wholesome experience!