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This Landfill Diner in Indonesia Lets Patrons Pay for Food with Plastic Waste

An extraordinary new restaurant in Semarang, Indonesia is on a mission to support locals trapped in poverty, many of whome are earning less than $25 (USD) a month, by providing them with an alternative way to pay for their food.

The Methane Gas Canteen, run by husband and wife team Sarimin and Suyatmi, is located in an unexpected place for an eatery – Jatibarang Landfill in Semarang, Central Java. The landfill is a mountain of putrifying waste, where poor locals spend their days scavenging plastic and glass to sell. Meanwhile, the couple, who spent 40 years collecting waste before opening the restaurant, is busy cooking.

What makes the restaurant unusual, aside from its location, is that no cash is required to pay for meals. Poor scavengers have the option to pay for their food with recyclable waste instead of hard currency. Saramin, 56, weighs the plastic customers bring in, calculates its worth, and then deducts that value from the cost of the meal, refunding any surplus value to the patron. The scheme is part of the community’s solution to reduce waste in the landfill and recycle non-degradable plastics.

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Restaurant Bans Children Under Five And Business Is Booming

After receiving several complaints from loyal customers, the owner of an upscale Italian restaurant in Mooresville, North Carolina, has taken the controversial decision to ban children under the age of five. And, despite facing some backlash on social media, he claims that business has grown significantly.

Caruso’s describes itself as a “traditional, classy, intimate” restaurant but young children crying, screaming or playing on iPads at full volume and disturbing the other diners apparently didn’t fit in too well in that picture. So the owner, Pasquale Caruso, adopted a “no child under five”policy in January 2017, to ensure that his upscale eatery lives up to its reputation.

“I had several customers complain, get up and leave because children were bothering them, and the parents were doing nothing,” Caruso told the Mooresville Gazette. “It started to feel like it wasn’t Caruso’s anymore, that it was a local pizzeria instead.”

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New Taipei Restaurant Uses Bikini-Clad Waitresses to Attract Customers

A hot-pot restaurant in Taipei, Taiwan, recently got a lot of attention online after photos of young bikini-clad waitresses serving and interacting with customers went viral.

The hot-pot restaurant business in Taiwan and mainland China is very competitive, and it’s very hard for newcomers to get an edge by relying solely on the quality of the food and impeccable service. So the owners of ‘Fresh Feast’, a new restaurant that opened in the Songshan district of Taipei, decided that they needed some extreme marketing in order to get the word out about their eatery and attract customers. For the grand opening, they hired five good-looking models and had them serve customers dressed only in skimpy bikinis.

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Pop-Up Restaurant in Finland Lacks Kitchen, Lets You Order from Other Restaurants

The “Take In” restaurant in Helsinki, Finland, is currently in the news for its ingenious service. Instead of cooking the meals in its own kitchen – which doesn’t exist – it allows patrons to order various dishes from a selection of 20 other restaurants in the city.

Sponsored by American Express and Wolt, a popular food delivery app, Take In is a pop-up restaurant that opened at the beginning of November 2016, and will run through April 2, this year. As you’ve probably already guessed, the name “Take In” is a clever play on words, as in take-out eaten in a restaurant. It sounds like a dumb concept, I know, after all, the whole point of ordering take-out is to avoid going to a restaurant, and if you’re going to dress up to go out, you might as well go straight to your favorite restaurant instead of ordering food from it somewhere else. But here’s the idea behind it – when you go out with a group of friends and you can’t decided where to go for dinner, because everyone wants to order something else, Take In is the perfect solution. You can have a pizza, while your buddies enjoy Japanese, Chinese or even a gourmet burger.

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Restaurant Lets Patrons Shoot Guns While They Wait for Their Food

In case you didn’t know, shooting guns goes really well with a hearty meal and cold drink. At least that’s what the owners of Modern Round, an innovative restaurant in Arizona seem to think, and judging by the success of their venue, they’re definitely on to something.

Before you go all ballistic, I should mention that the guns provided by Modern Round are not real firearms, but realistic laser replicas designed to feel like the real thing. Instead of gun range targets, patrons must shoot at virtual targets on a 16-foot-wide screen, and can choose from a variety of options, from zombie-themed games to live-action police and military scenarios. To make the experience feel as realistic as possible, the replicas are molded into the size, shape and weight of actual firearms, and some of the weapons even have a CO2 system that “provides realistic recoil and blowback.” So if you can’t stop thinking about guns even at the dinner table, this is probably the place for you.

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San Francisco Restaurant Serves Food on iPads instead of Plates

Technology is seeping into everything, even restaurant tableware. Quince, a Michelin-starred restaurant in San Francisco has recently swapped ol’ fashioned porcelain plates with Apple iPads for a couple of its most popular dishes.

Restaurants have been using tablets instead of classic menus for years now, and some have even introduced app-powered ordering and payment options, but until not too long ago, plating seemed to be immune to this high-tech trend. They’re feeling the heat now, though, as more and more restaurants swap them out for futuristic tablet-based dishes, in an effort to attracts tech aficionados with and appetite for fine cuisine.

The latest to join the exclusive restaurants where tablet plating is actually a thing is Quince, a San Francisco eatery run by Michael and Lindsey Tusk. They are serving a dish called ‘A Dog in Search of Gold’ on an Apple iPad that’s playing a video of a dog hunting for truffles. If you’re wondering about the connection, the dish is composed of white truffle croquettes. And in case you’re not into truffles, Quince also serves frog legs on top of iPads playing videos of frogs in a pond.

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This Japanese Restaurant Chain Is an Introvert’s Paradise

If your idea of a good restaurant experience includes a nice conversation and interaction with the waiting staff, then Ichiran Ramen is probably not a place you want to visit. The popular Japanese chain is all about solo dining, taking extraordinary measures to ensure that patrons avoid human interaction as much as possible.

Manabu Yoshitomi, the founder of Ichiran Ramen, came up with the concept for his famous restaurants when he was just a high-school student, after seeing his female friends attempting to cover their mouths when eating ramen. After asking them about it, Yoshitomi discovered that their reluctance to being watched by other people as they slurped noodles was actually a huge barrier to them visiting ramen shops. This information inspired the young man to open a tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen restaurant that offered almost total privacy instead of human interaction.

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Iowa Restaurant Charges Trump Voters Higher Cover

Stella, one of the most popular restaurants in Iowa City, Iowa, has been slammed with dozens of negative reviews on sites like Yelp and Google for discriminating against Trump voters by charging them higher cover.

Stella is located in Johnson County, which is one of the 6 out of 99 Iowa counties that voted for Hillary Clinton in the recently concluded U.S. presidential election. Donald Trump won the state of Iowa, and now the owners of Stella apparently want to get back at those who voted for him by asking them to pay a higher entrance fee, or cover charge, than Clinton or independent candidate voters. According to several 1-star online reviews, this past weekend Trump voters had to pay a $10 cover charge, while Clinton voters only had to cough up $5 to gain entrance. The bizarre payback practice has since been described “disgusting” and “unprofessional”.

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Chinese Restaurant Adopts “Pay What You Want” Policy, Loses $15,000 in a Week

A naive restaurant owner in Guiyang, China, who thought that appealing to people’s inherent goodness would be a good way to attract customers to his new karst cave-themed restaurant, managed to lose over 100,000 RMB in just seven days.

Liu Xiaojun and his two business partners did the math, and decided that promoting their new restaurant by applying the now-famous “pay what you want” policy would be a good idea. Choosing to ignore the disastrous experiences of other restaurant owners who allowed customers to pay what they wanted for the food, the three simply assumed that the vast majority of customers would be rational and fair. They were wrong.

To be honest, their idea wasn’t a total failure. The news that they could order as many dishes as they liked and pay whatever they wanted for them attracted lots of customers, but many of them paid only 10% of the cost of their meal, while a few even dared to leave just 1 RMB (¢15) on the table. In just seven days, the restaurant had incurred losses of over 100,000 RMB ($15,000) and the promotion fell apart. Following the disastrous result, the three owners got into a serious argument and one of them left the city, vowing never to return again.

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New York Restaurant Employs Cooking Grandmas Instead of Professional Chefs

When it comes to tasty food, nothing beats grandma’s cooking! Well, except maybe more grandmas cooking in the same kitchen, which is exactly what goes on at Staten Island’s Enoteca Maria, a charming restaurant that employs grandmas from various parts of the world, instead of professional chefs.

Enoteca Maria owner Jody Scaravella says that he came up with the idea of placing grandmothers in a restaurant kitchen about 12 years ago, after suffering a series of tragic losses. His grandmother, his mother and his sister had passed away within a few years of each other, and the idea of having an Italian grandmother in the kitchen just felt comforting to him. He got his first cooks by posting an ad in the paper seeking ‘Italian housewives to cook regional dishes’. “I was still building the restaurant then, so I asked them to come to my place to cook instead — I live in the neighborhood. And they came with dishes, and their husbands and a few grandchildren they were looking after for the day. The whole thing was like a Fellini movie,” Scaravella remembers.

But that was only the beginning. These days, the unique New York restaurant has a rotating staff of grandmothers from around 30 different places around the world, including Palestine, the Czech Republic, Argentina, Nigeria and Algeria. They are known as ‘nonnas’ – Italian for ‘grandmas’ – and take turns in cooking traditional recipes from their respective culture, offering patrons the chance to experience new and exciting dishes virtually every night.

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Eat Up or Pay Up – German Restaurants Charge Patrons Extra for Not Finishing Their Meals

A number of restaurants in Germany have come up with a somewhat controversial way of fighting food waste – charging patrons a small fee if they cannot finish all the food on their plates.

Yuoki, a sushi restaurant in Stuttgart, Germany, is not your everyday all-you-can-eat buffet. For starters, there isn’t an actual buffet to fill your plate at. Instead, patrons are seated at a table and provided with iPads which they can use to order up to five small dishes every ten minutes. They can eat as much as they want for 120 minutes, but having the food delivered at short intervals allows diners to constantly assess how hungry they are and order accordingly, preventing food waste. Also, owner Luan Guoyu believes our “eyes are bigger than our stomachs”, so not being able to see the cooked food at the buffet prevents people from ordering more food that they can actually eat just because they like the way it looks.

But Luan Guoyu’s most effective way of fighting food waste, and the one that has attracted media attention, is his €1 ($1.15) fine for food still left on the plate. “It’s called ‘all-you-can-eat,’ not ‘all-you-can-chuck-away,’ he says, adding that the extra charge is not meant to increase his profits, but to act as a reminder not to waste food. In the two years since Yuoki implemented this “eat up or pay up” policy, Guoyu claims he has collected €900 ($1,020) to €1,000 ($1,133) in food waste fees, which he plans to donate to charity.

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Chinese Businessman Turns Boeing 737 Airplane into a Restaurant

China’s very first airplane restaurant was recently unveiled in Wuhan. Named “Lilly Airways”, the unique eatery is located in the cabin area of an old Boeing 737.

Businessman Li Liang acquired the aircraft from Indonesian airline Batavia Air, in May 2015, but then had to go through six months of exhausting custom procedures in order to get the aircraft into China. “Demounting, port, shipping, business license, trade declaration…all these procedures were never done by anybody before, which means I had to go through them one by one,” Li said, adding that the Boeing 737 had to be disassembled a total of eight times in its four-month journey from Indonesia to Wuhan, China. Getting the plane split into parts that then had to be packed in around 70 containers and shipped multiple times apparently cost the eccentric businessman a whopping 3 million yuan ($452,325). Add that to the 5 million yuan ($5.28 million) he paid for the plane itself and you have one of the most expensive restaurants in the world.

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Aptly Named Rollercoaster Restaurant Delivers Your Food via Tiny Rollercoasters

British theme park Alton Towers is giving fast food a whole new meaning with its-newly opened ‘Rollercoaster Restaurant’ where dishes are delivered to patrons via – you guessed it – tiny rollercoasters. For an attraction famous for its adrenaline pumping rides, this is the perfect eatery.

When you enter the Rollercoaster Restaurant, an employee will seat you at your table and explain how to use a tablet to order food, which will travel to your table via a 26-foot rollercoaster with two gravity-defying loop-the-loops. But here’s the catch – you share a rollercoaster with three other tables, so there’s no way of telling whether the dish on the way is the one you ordered or not.

Once it makes its way down to the bottom, the dish will plant itself on a massive lazy suzan, along with a flag displaying the table number. If it happens to be yours, you can simply rotate the lazy susan towards your table and help yourself. Thankfully, the food arrives in closed containers and drinks arrive in bottles to avoid spillage, while hot beverages like tea and coffee are served the regular way – by hand.

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London’s First Clothing-Optional Restaurant Has a Waiting List of Over 15,000

A pop up restaurant in London is making waves nearly two months before its grand opening, thanks to its controversial ‘clothing optional’ policy. The Bunyadi, which all set to open in June for three months, will have two separate ‘clothed’ and ‘unclothed’ sections for patrons to choose from.

“The idea is to experience true liberation,” said Seb Lyall, founder of Lollipop, the company behind the venture. “People should get the chance to enjoy and experience a night out without any impurities: no chemicals, no artificial colors, no electricity, no gas, no phone, and even no clothes if they wish to. We have worked very hard to design a space where everything patrons interact with is bare and naked.” And of course, the staff will be in the nude as well, with certain body parts strategically covered up.

The unconventional dining concept has proved so popular that over 15,000 people have already signed up to be on the waiting list through the restaurant’s website.

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Unique Community Kitchen Is Set Up Like a Restaurant So Homeless People can Dine with Dignity

Although it’s a soup kitchen for the homeless, Kansas City Community Kitchen is set up to resemble a real restaurant, complete with greeters, waiters, and fancy restaurant-quality meals. The idea is to treat the homeless with respect and allow them to enjoy their meal with dignity.

The kitchen, run by Episcopal Community Services, has been around for 30 years, but it re-opened on Feb 5 with a complete makeover. In its new avatar, volunteer staff at the kitchen serve the homeless every weekday, from 11am to 2pm. A host greets them at the entrance, seats them at a table, and presents a menu created by executive chef Michael Curry. A waiter then asks them what they would like to eat and brings them freshly prepared plated lunches. The new restaurant-style initiative is meant to allow the less fortunate to dine with some dignity.

“We are trying to flip the photo of what a soup kitchen looks like,” explained Mandy Caruso-Yahne, directory of community engagement at Episcopal, adding that everyone is welcome in the kitchen, homeless or not.

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