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”.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Yuoki-Taste120 Read More »

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.

airplane-restaurant-Wuhan Read More »

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.

rollercoaster-restaurant2 Read More »

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.

Bunyadi Read More »

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.

restaurant-community-kitchen Read More »

Restaurant Owner Bans Bankers after Being Denied Loan

A restaurant owner in Paris is thoroughly miffed with bankers, so much so that he’s banned them from entering his establishment. A sign outside the place reads: “Dogs welcome, bankers banned (unless they pay an entry fee of €70,000).”

Alexandre Callet’s obvious displeasure towards bankers stems from the fact that many of them turned down his request for a loan of €70,000 ($77,273) to open a second restaurant. He said that he felt humiliated because the amount he asked for is “nothing” compared to the €300,000 turnover of his Michelin-ranked restaurant, Les Ecuries de Richelieu. In fact, most of the bankers who turned him down know Callet and have actually dined at his place.

“I believe in reciprocity,” the 30-year-old said. “They have treated me like a dog, so I have denied them access. As soon as I see a banker that I recognise I won’t let them enter my restaurant. This is not just a kebab shop. My restaurant is in the Michelin guide and film stars come in.”

Alexandre-Callet-bakers Read More »

This Japanese Restaurant Serves the World’s Most Outrageous Dishes

Even if you’re into weird foods and like trying new and exciting things, you’ll still probably find the menu at this Japanese restaurant too hardcore. With dishes like cooked crocodile feet, grilled piranha and battered, deep-fried whole salamander, this place makes frog legs seem like baby food.

Located in Yokohama’s Noge district, Chinju-ya (rare meat monger) Restaurant is certainly not for the faint-hearted. In the six years he has been running the place, chef Fukuoka has taken pride in serving customers the rarest and most unusual meats from across the world. using his international connections, he can apparently get his hands on anything from axolotls and isopods to black scorpions and even camel meat. Their twitter feed ‘@Noge_chinjuya’ is frequently updated with their latest and greatest imports. Read More »

This ‘Hole in the Wall’ Is Actually a Secret Restaurant Serving Home-Cooked Caribbean Food

Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood is home to a mysterious restaurant that serves delicious home-cooked Caribbean Food through a hole in the wall. That’s actually what the owner, a man named Papa who moved to Brooklyn from Jamaica eight years ago, and his patrons call the unique eatery.

The name ‘Hole in the Wall’ isn’t just clever wordplay, it’s as literal as it gets – from the outside, the restaurant is just a rectangular hole cut out from a storefront grate located on Kingston Avenue. There’s no sign, no hours, no menu, and not even a door to walk through. Papa simply opens up the hole each morning when the food is ready, and closes it when the stock for the day is sold out. His Caribbean dishes are fresh, tasty, and best of all, free from sales tax.

hole-in-the-wall2 Read More »

High-Tech Automated Restaurant Totally Does Away with Human Interaction

A new restaurant in San Francisco is making headlines for entirely doing away with human staff. Instead, customers at ‘Eatsa’ directly send their orders to the kitchen through iPads. When the meal is ready, it will appear through a small glass compartment. Although there are real people working behind the scenes, patrons don’t have to interact with any of them.

It’s a radical alteration from the traditional model of dining out, but Eatsa owners feel that San Franciscans are ready for the change. They did have concierges in red shirts on the opening night late last month, to help customers place their order, but the restaurant is now fully automated, with no sign of staff anywhere – no cashiers, no waiters, no maître d’. Customers jokingly call it the “robot restaurant”.

It might sound rather inhospitable, but the restaurant, located in the Financial District, has is so far proving a success. “We are producing food at an incredible rate,” co-founder Tim Young said. “And we’re creating a new kind of fast food experience. What we’ve designed creates a sense of mystery, creates a sense of intrigue.”

Eatsa-restaurant Read More »

World’s Friendliest Restaurant Serves Breakfast, Lunch and Hugs

While it is common for restaurant owners to connect with their patrons, a restaurateur from Albuquerque is taking customer care to a whole new level. Tim Harris gives out free hugs to every single customer at the end of each meal. The atmosphere at his restaurant ‘Tim’s Place’ is so positive that patrons often call it the ‘world’s friendliest restaurant’.

The establishment has been around since 2010, and Tim has given out over 19,000 hugs in the past five years – he keeps count using a special Hug Counter. “I love giving all the customers a hug because I want them to feel comfortable and connected and being around friends,” said Tim explained.

‘Tim’s Hug’ is actually an item on the menu, described as a “calorie-free”, “guilt-free” treat that guarantees to “improve your lease on life.” Which is true – Tim’s hugs are doubly special because of everything he has achieved in life. The 26-year-old is probably the only Down syndrome sufferer in the U.S. to own a restaurant, but he has several other things to be proud about: he’s an accomplished Special Olympian, an excellent sailor, and an experienced offshore fisherman. And, he was also elected homecoming king and Student of the Year in high school! So when a man like Tim hugs you, it is sure to be a special and unforgettable experience.

Tim's-Place-restaurant

Read More »

Prison Restaurant Staffed by Inmates Voted the Best in Cardiff, Wales

The Clink has recently been named the number one restaurant in Cardiff, Wales, by TripAdvisor, after getting more votes than all the other 945 restaurants in the Welsh capital. I know that doesn’t seem like the kind of news you normally read on OC, but The Clink isn’t your average restaurant – it’s staffed by inmates at HMP Cardiff, a Category D men’s prison!

Approximately 30 prisoners work a 40-hour week at The Clink, either in the kitchen or waiting tables, before returning to their cells at the end of each day. The restaurant also employs a team of trainers who work closely with the prisoners to come up with seasonal dishes made from locally sourced fresh ingredients. Some of the typical menu options include ‘venison and wild boar ragout with game sausage, chargrilled polenta and seasonal vegetables’ and ‘a celebration of rhubarb’.The inmates are paid £14 ($20) a week, but their biggest reward is the chance to turn their life around. Over time, the restaurant has managed to help reduce the reoffending rate of prisoners who worked there to 12.5 percent, compared to the national average of 47 percent.

The-Clink-restaurant Read More »

At This Chinese Restaurant Good-Looking People Eat for Free

Who needs money when you have a pretty face, right?. At Jeju Island, a Korean eatery in Zhengzhou city, China, people are allowed to dine at no charge if they happen to be among the five most beautiful patrons of the day. Hanging outside the establishment last Saturday was a bold sign that stated: “Free Meal for Goodlooking”.

If you think the practice is bizarre, wait till you hear who the judges are – a panel of local plastic surgeons! All those hoping to earn a free meal are taken to a ‘beauty identification area’, where they are photographed. The doctors then evaluate the potential diners on the quality of their faces, eyes, noses, and mouths.

free-meal-China Read More »