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Theme restaurants are much more common outside of the United States, for some reason. Asian countries are particularly fond of them, and the list of restaurants in Japan alone is pretty impressive and out-weirds this list by a substantial margin. But if you live in the United States, chances are there is an interesting theme restaurant somewhere near you that you may not even know about.
Even if you don't live close by one of these, or if you would like to visit more of them, it would be easy to incorporate a visit into your vacation plans while visiting a city where one is located. While some lists include private clubs, for some reason, mine only includes a list of those that are open to the general public.
9 Great Theme Restaurants to Try
- Bors Hede Inne (Carnation, Washington)
- Casa Bonita (Denver, Colorado)
- The Cave (Richland, Missouri)
- Dick's Last Resort (Multiple Locations)
- Dinner in the Sky (Las Vegas, Nevada)
- The Heart Attack Grill (Dallas, Texas)
- Jekyll and Hyde Club (New York City)
- Ninja New York (New York City)
- Supperclub (Los Angeles and San Francisco, California)
1. Bors Hede Inne
Location: Carnation, WA
For the kind of people who really enjoy the Renaissance Faire, there is the Bors Heade Inne in Carnation, Washington. The restaurant itself is part of a year-round medieval village that exists there called Camlann, and it features a variety of entertainment and special events during the year.
The restaurant is closed on Mondays and features a menu based on medieval cuisine as the noble class of the time would have experienced it. If you are inclined to visit historical recreations, then this is probably a must visit for you. Oh, and expect to eat your food with your hands.
If you aren't going to be in the Washington area, you might want to check out the similarly themed Medieval Times, which is centered around a jousting event and has more locations.
2. Casa Bonita
Location: Denver, CO
While there are Mexican Restaurants in every city in the United States, no restaurant goes to the lengths that Casa Bonita does to try to create an amazing atmosphere based on Mexican cuisine. The restaurant boasts an 85-foot-tall pink tower facade, a fountain shipped in pieces from Mexico, and an indoor water fall made to resemble Acapulco. They also feature strolling musicians, cliff divers, puppet shows, games, and an elaborate gift shop.
Located in Denver Colorado, there were once four locations, but the other three have since closed. This makes Denver the only place in the country that you can have this kind of experience. The menu is very reasonably priced and the dining room can seat a thousand people.
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3. The Cave
Location: Richland, MO
This steak house, located in Richland, Missouri, has a pretty straight forward name. It is a restaurant that is built inside a cave. It also is resort that offers lodging in cabins and activities such as canoeing. The restaurant itself has waterfalls and ponds with a view of the river. There is also live piano music on weekends.
The site would be a good one for those who want an outdoorsy vacation and might be a fun stop for anybody who finds themselves traveling through Missouri for any reason.
4. Dick's Last Resort
Locations: Multiple (see below)
One of the easier to find restaurants on this list, Dick's has ten locations. The theme is simple. Rather than be nice to you, the staff is intentionally rude and obnoxious. The owners got the idea after having their previous fine dining restaurant go bankrupt, and Dick's may now arguably be the most financial successful theme restaurant on this list.
The menu is based on southern cuisine with intentionally vulgar names for both food and drinks. They also often have live music. No matter where you live or plan your vacations, finding a location shouldn't be hard. Current locations are in:
- Boston, MA
- Baltimore, MD
- Myrtle Beach, SC
- Nashville, TN
- Gatlinburg, TN
- Chicago, IL
- Dallas, TX
- San Antonio, TX
- Las Vegas, NV
- San Diego, CA
5. Dinner in the Sky
Location: Las Vegas, NV
I went back and forth on including this one since it isn't technically a restaurant and more like a catering service, but it is often included on lists of "weird restaurants," so I relented. Dinner in the Sky is a service where your party of up to 22 people and three staff are suspended on a crane 180 feet in the air while you dine.
The service began in Belgium but has made it to the United States, with a site in Las Vegas. Future sites may be planned in Florida and New York City. The plus side is obviously a beautiful view, while the downside is finding a party of people who aren't afraid of heights.
6. The Heart Attack Grill
Location: Dallas, TX
The Heart Attack Grill will serve you the most fattening food imaginable while being waited on by staff dressed as doctor's and nurses. The gimmick has gotten the restaurant some bad press, as has names of some of the menu items, like triple bypass burgers, but this is all in good fun. A nice place to stop off at if you are ever in Dallas, but I'd try not to make a habit of it.
7. Jekyll and Hyde Club
Location: New York City
The Jekyll and Hyde club is based around the theme of English Victorian horror. The staff dresses as Gothic horror characters and anamatronic creatures screech and howl in the night. It is essentially like eating dinner in an old fashion haunted house. This NYC restaurant is built around family entertainment so no worries about things getting too intense for children. The mood is more in the tongue in cheek variety than going for real scares.
The menu is rather extensive for a theme restaurant with probably the widest variety of options as any other restaurant on this list. There is also quite a few souvenirs that can be purchased.
8. Ninja New York
Location: New York City
While Japanese restaurants are fairly common in the US there are not many Ninja themed Japanese restaurants. Ninja New York promises both fine Japanese cuisine and to transport you into the world of the ninja. The staff dress as ninjas and perform while cooking and bringing food. At the end of the meal you will be treated by a magician who will perform tricks for you.
Many jaded New Yorker feel the novelty wears off too fast but with a number of very bad theme restaurants in New York set to fleece tourists this is definitely one of the better ones in the area and you would be wise to choose Ninja New York over most of their competition.
Update: This restaurant closed its doors in March of 2020.
Locations: Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA
This is probably the most expensive and weirdest restaurant on the list. The restaurants are based around performance art, and the idea is that anything can happen here. While you will have a pretty good idea what you might get from the theme of these other restaurants alone, you will never know exactly might be in store from you with this Avant-garde artistic show.
The restaurant recruits artists, singers, musicians and actors to create a unique experience every time you come. This will definitely appeal to the more artistic or adventure seeking audience but despite costing a few hundred dollars for your meal, you won't be able to say that the entertainment wasn't worth it.