See Inside the Craziest Restaurants in America
Photo By: AL ZAYED ©Al Zayed
Photo By: INGRID LAAS
Tommy Gun's Garage
Say the secret password and you can enter Tommy Gun’s Garage. This Chicago speakeasy is serving up a 1920s-inspired evening and musical comedy show — with flappers, tap dancers and gangsters — plus a delicious three-course meal. For a true gangster’s entree, diners order Frankie’s Feast. Named after Frankie Yale (one of Al Capone’s original gangsters), it features two 7-ounce pork chops.
Where to Find: Tommy Gun's Garage
ET Encounter Diner
You don’t have to travel to space to enjoy an extraterrestrial meal. ET Encounter Diner in Sedona, Ariz., has a fun, space-themed decor, where some diners have claimed to have UFO sightings. Order the Space Cowboy Burger for 10 ounces of meaty goodness sandwiched in a pretzel bun and topped with fixins like special space sauce, Swiss cheese, mushrooms, bacon and fried onion rings.
Where to Find: ET Encounter Diner
At Safe House in Milwaukee, diners are not just there to eat — they’re assigned on a secret mission. Walk through the restaurant and uncover artifacts like a piece of the Berlin Wall, or enjoy cocktails like the Great Spytini, which is served James Bond style: shaken, not stirred. Diners shouldn’t miss out on the Squeak-Easy Cheese Curds, golden fried nuggets of cheese topped with parsley and Parmesan and served with marinara sauce.
Where to Find: SafeHouse
Forget planes, trains and automobiles, because the only way to get to Cabbage Key in Cabbage Key, Fla., is by boat. Diners come for the cheeseburgers and the hogfish that’s served whole with a fresh mango salsa, but what's unique about this nautical restaurant is the thousands of signed dollar bills taped to the walls. Even JFK and Ernest Hemingway joined the cash-signing tradition, which was supposedly started by a fisherman who wanted to guarantee he’d have money to buy his next drink.
Where to Find: Cabbage Key
Charlie Russell Chew Choo
For a ride-and-dine experience, head to Kingston Junction, Mont., where you can hop aboard Charlie Russell Chew Choo. This one-of-a-kind restaurant is located in a 1950s five-car train, where diners take a three-and-a-half-hour trip to see Montana’s beautiful countryside and indulge in a cowboy feast. The menu stars a prime rib dinner, slow cooked at 200 degrees for five hours until juicy and tender.
Where to Find: Charlie Russell Chew Choo
Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse
Put on your cowboy boots and get ready for some lasso-swinging fun. At Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse in Chandler, Ariz., you can find 1880s-themed Wild West attractions like a blacksmith and a place to pan for gold. The menu features Rocky Mountain Oysters and, most popularly, steak. Grilled with mesquite wood for smokiness and then stamped with an R, the steaks here are worthy of cowboys.
Where to Find: Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse
Bavarian Inn of Frankenmuth
There’s no need to travel across seas to guzzle down a beer and experience Oktoberfest. That’s because Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth, Mich., is serving up German classics all year round. Situated in “Little Bavaria,” this eatery has wiener schnitzel, bratwurst and rouladen, but diners are most excited about the fried chicken, which is lightly fried and served piping hot by wait staff wearing festive dirndl and lederhosen costumes.
Where to Find: Bavarian Inn of Frankenmuth
Tatiana Restaurant & Night Club
The best way to describe Brooklyn’s Tatiana Restaurant & Night Club is a lavish Russian extravaganza. Diners can enjoy the show — with Cossack dancers, acrobats and showgirls — or dive into signature dishes like the crepes. Chef-owner Tatiana Varzar makes a decadent filling for this Russian delicacy with moist chicken thighs, mushrooms, Marsala wine and a touch of heavy cream.
Where to Find: Tatiana Restaurant & Night Club
Tasso’s Greek Restaurant
At Tasso’s Greek Restaurant in Kansas City, Mo., there’s no shortage of plate breaking and screaming “Opa!” Diners have joined in on the celebration since 1976 and come to this family-run restaurant for the authentic Greek specialties. Order the pastitsio for a decadent pasta with meat and bechamel sauce, or the saganaki, pan-fried kasseri cheese that is drizzled with brandy and flambeed tableside.
Where to Find: Tasso’s Greek Restaurant
You don’t have to cook with a clay pot to taste the delicious flavors of Morocco. At Imperial Fez in Atlanta, owners and chefs Rafih and Rita Benjelloun have shared their North African cuisine for over 20 years. Visit and you might wonder what’s more exotic: belly dancers swirling fire or dishes like the lamb shank, which is braised with traditional Moroccan spices and served with a shiitake mushroom sauce.
Where to Find: Imperial Fez
Jekyll & Hyde
The only way to get inside New York City’s Jekyll & Hyde is through a secret London phone booth entrance. Diners can expect twisted characters, spooky animatronics and an entertaining show led by a mad scientist while indulging in comfort food with a twist. The Jekyll & Hyde Steakhouse Burger — loaded with crisp bacon, tangy blue cheese and a housemade steak sauce — is a ghoulishly good favorite.
Where to Find: Jekyll & Hyde
Betty Danger's Country Club
You don’t need to wear argyle to dine at Betty Danger’s club in Minneapolis. But make no mistake, this restaurant is decorated like a country club and fuses together Mexican cuisine with Minnesota comfort food. Order a cocktail named after one of the Ivy Leagues or dive into The Muffy, a deconstructed taco that stars 12-hour-braised pork, housemade jalapeno dressing and queso fresco.
Where to Find: Betty Danger's Country Club
Ella's Deli and Ice Cream Parlor
Ella’s Deli and Ice Cream Parlor in Madison, Wis., just might have it all. This circus-themed eatery is home to a 1927 working Parker Carousel — one of 75 in the country — and a massive deli and ice cream menu, featuring The Famous number #1 Grilled Pound Cake Hot Fudge Sundae. Enjoy this sweet treat while admiring the restaurant’s creative animatronics, many of which owner Ken Balkin builds himself.
Where to Find: Ella's Deli and Ice Cream Parlor
The Bubble Room
Check your vacation calendar, because it’s always Christmas at The Bubble Room in Captiva Island, Fla. This whimsical restaurant has “Bubble Scouts” — who dress in Boy Scout uniforms and wear wacky hats — serving up a menu that’s just as eclectic as the decor is unique. Garlic-and-cheese-smothered Bubble Bread is a must-have appetizer.
Where to Find: The Bubble Room
For a night out in the Roaring Twenties, diners head to Cuchi Cuchi in Cambridge, Mass. While decked out in boas and Jazz Age costumes, guests sip on freshly muddled fruit cocktails and choose from a menu with international flair like Cuchi Cuchi’s house special: Fruits de Mer. A puff pastry shell is filled with a rich and creamy shrimp sauce and topped with a medley of scallops, oysters, shrimp and lobster.
Where to Find: Cuchi Cuchi
Carved out of a 15,000-square-foot rock ledge in the Appalachian Mountains, Rattlesnake Saloon in Tuscumbia, Ala., is certainly a restaurant for the adventurous. Take in the cowboy sights, like chuck wagon races, and sit down for a meal with plenty of bold flavor and Southern spice, like the Snake Eyes and Tails appetizer (don’t be fooled — these are fried veggies) and Wild Bill Cody Wings.
Where to Find: Rattlesnake Saloon
The Big Texan
In Amarillo, Texas, there’s no better place to fix your steak hankering than at The Big Texan. Selling around 1,000 pounds of beef each day, this restaurant is fit for hungry cowboys, serving up steaks, fried mushrooms, burgers and ribs. Finish their 72-ounce sirloin steak — plus a salad, baked potato, shrimp cocktail and buttered dinner roll — in under an hour and this meal is on the house.
Where to Find: The Big Texan
Stroll through Seattle’s theater district to find Teatro ZinZanni, a one-stop dine-and-be-entertained experience. At this theatrical restaurant, guests are presented with an evening show of aerial acts, singers, dancers, contortionists and comedians. Diners can expect a five-course menu inspired by each new show, like this succulent Petite Kobe Beef served with an herbaceous New Zealand Lamb Shank.
Where to Find: Teatro ZinZanni
Mexico meets Disneyland at Casa Bonita in Boulder. This massive theme park-like restaurant houses a 30-foot-high waterfall plus its own store, game center and cave. Find different Mexican feasts on the all-you-can-eat menu, and don’t miss the most-popular dish: sopapillas, a Latin American pastry that’s fried until golden brown, sprinkled with powdered sugar and drizzled with fresh Colorado honey.
Where to Find: Casa Bonita
Pirate's Dinner Adventure
At Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Orlando, Fla., guests come to experience a one-of-a-kind show. Feast your eyes on the action, complete with pirates, high-flying rope swingers and trampoline acts, while diving into the restaurant’s three-course meal. Featured on the menu is the tender Rosemary Citrus Chicken, drizzled with a honey-based glaze and served next to a vegetable-packed rice pilaf.
Where to Find: Pirate's Dinner Adventure
Heart Attack Grill
Diners at Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas don’t mess around when they order the Octuple Bypass Burger. That’s right, we’re talking eight burgers stacked one on top of the other. Finishing this enormous menu item that boasts 20,000 calories guarantees the ravenous eater a ride out of the hospital-themed restaurant in a wheelchair.
Where to Find: Heart Attack Grill
Joanie’s Blue Crab Cafe
Take two steps outside Joanie’s Blue Crab Cafe and you’re likely to spot an alligator — or two, or three. Located in the heart of the swampy Everglades, this crazy restaurant is surrounded by tons of the meaty reptiles, which diners enjoy in the form of chili, ribs and, most popularly, deep-fried gator nuggets.
Where to Find: Joanie's Blue Crab Cafe
Crawfish pie, fried chicken and hushpuppies are standout items at Catfish Plantation in Waxahachie, Texas. But this restaurant isn’t known only for its flavorful Cajun cuisine — it’s known to be haunted. Guests often witness active ghosts and eerie paranormal activity in this 120-year-old Victorian house.
Where to Find: Catfish Plantation
Only in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains will you find lumberjacks willing to undergo a series of games — like archery and synchronized log rolling — while guests hunker down on succulent, half-chicken dinners. At Lumberjack Feud in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., 850 rowdy guests are sure to get an action-packed show with every bite.
Where to Find: Lumberjack Feud
Thinking fast and watching your back are two things to keep in mind when dining at New York City’s Ninja. This restaurant is fully loaded with Ninja servers who are trained to deceive with card tricks, fire and trapdoors. Order the restaurant’s Sushi Paradise for a variety of rolls, sashimi and nigiri, or choose the 22-ounce rib-eye steak.
Where to Find: Ninja
If the XXX Wings, made with ghost, habanero and Trinidad scorpion peppers, at Chicago's Jake Melnick's prove simply too spicy to bear, all you have to do is ring the restaurant's bell, and an array of milk, vanilla ice cream, fresh oranges and bread will be delivered to your table to rescue you.
Where to Find: Jake Melnick's
For diners worried about indulging in too many heavy foods, like these bacon-mac and cheese bites, at Phoenix's The Duce, there's an easy way to offset the decadence: take part in one of the restaurant's fitness classes, including The Workout, which is set to burn nearly 1,000 calories per hour.
Where to Find: The Duce
There's no shortage of fire or flavor at Fort Lauderdale's Mai-Kai restaurant. This part-dining experience, part-entertainment venue is known for turning out Peking duck, smoked in 800-degree F ovens, which diners can enjoy while watching flame-twirling Polynesian dancers strut their stuff.
Where to Find: Mai-Kai
Don't be surprised if you hear sirens the next time you order pizza from Company 77 in Phoenix. The delivery pies show up on a refurbished fire truck, and, perhaps best of all, you're invited on board to put the finishing touches on your pizza.
Where to Find: Company 77
There's no reason to sweat the small stuff at the Chicago Sweatlodge, where patrons can take a refreshing dip in the pool after a heated stay in the sauna and before they dig into a meal of warming chicken soup or borscht.
Where to Find: Chicago Sweatlodge
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