October 2017 Culinary Depot Blog Posts

    7 of the Scariest Restaurants in the World

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    In honor of Halloween, we’re going to share some of the scariest restaurants from around the globe. While not every restaurant on this list celebrates October 31st, they all firmly believe in the power of fear. Try them if you dare…


    Fortezza Medicea – Volterra, Italy


    fortezza medicea


    Think you can enjoy a meal served exclusively by convicted criminals? Frotezza Medicea gives you that chance. Located in Volterra, Italy, this off-beat restaurant is situated inside a high-security prison. Current prisoners make up the entire staff—a result of the Italian government’s efforts to help inmates transition back into the work force. Anyone who wishes to dine at Fortezza Medicea must first get screened by Rome’s Ministry of Justice. And if you’re worried about a server using silverware to make a break for it, don’t be. All silverware is made of plastic to ensure diner safety.


    Disaster Café – Lloret de Mar, Spain


    disaster cafe


    In most areas, earthquakes are natural events that are feared and hopefully avoided. This prevailing attitude is not present at the Disaster Café in Spain. While the ground floor is an alien-themed restaurant for children, the basement level is for adults and has a cave-like atmosphere. Servers wear construction helmets, and dishes are heavier than usual.  While it might seem odd, there’s a good reason for this. The Disaster Café allows diners to experience what it’s like to withstand a 7.8 earthquake. Lights flicker, diners scream, and drinks spill all over clothing.  As long as you know what you’re getting into it, the Disaster Café is a one of a kind experience.


    Dinner in the Sky – 45 Different Countries


    dinner in the sky


    Scared of heights?  Then this restaurant certainly isn’t for you.  What started in 2006 as an outrageous experiment in Belgium has grown into a phenomenon that’s crossed into 45 different countries. Suspended dozens of feet in the air, diners leisurely eat their meals while trying to remain calm.  Easier said than done. If anyone in your party needs to use a restroom, the chamber must descend to ground level—either an inconvenience or an easy excuse out.


    Nyotaimori – Tokyo, Japan


    nyotaimori - tokyo, japan


    Believed to have originated when samurais roamed Japan, Nyotaimori is the practice of serving sushi on a naked body. This Tokyo-based restaurant offers a dark twist on the much-maligned practice. Serving a body made of dough that’s wheeled out atop an operating table, the restaurant gives patrons the opportunity to imagine life as a cannibal. Diners slice into the dough bodies and feast on edible organs. It’s a dining experience that might not be for everyone, but it certainly won’t soon be forgotten.


    Vampie Café – Tokyo, Japan


    vampire cafe


    There must be something in the water in Tokyo. Taking the recent vampire phenomenon (Twilight, True Blood, etc.) to the next level, the Vampire Café creates a spooky ambiance like few other restaurants can.  The dimly lit establishment is decorated with coffins, cobwebs, skulls, jack-o-lanterns, candles, and a blood-red color scheme. Servers dress up as Dracula, further immersing diners in the world of vampires. The Vampire Café is only open for dinner—fitting since vampires are nocturnal creatures.


    Zombie Buger – Des Moines, IA


    zombie burger - iowa


    Flaunting “post-apocalyptic chic,” Zombie Burger features a wide range of spooky decorations. Zombie posters dawn the walls, while zombie statues greet patrons at the restaurant’s entrance. But the scary atmosphere never deters diners from indulging in delicious gourmet burgers and shakes. While the original location is in Des Moines, Iowa, several of these restaurants dedicated to the undead are scattered throughout the state.


    New Lucky Restaurant – Ahmedabad, India


    new lucky restaurant - india


    Perhaps not ideal for diners who believe in ghosts, the New Lucky Restaurant was built atop an Indian burial ground. If that’s not concerning enough, owner Krishnan Kutti decided to actually keep the graves and burial plots how he found them. Insisting that eating next to the dead is lucky, Kutti placed steel bars around graves and kept them on display. The people buried beneath the restaurant are believed to have passed away during the 17th century. Their graves are cleaned each morning and decorated with flowers in their honor.


    Celebrating Halloween at Your Bar or Restaurant

    Celebrating Halloween at Your Bar or Restaurant

     celebrating Halloween at your bar or restaurant


    With Halloween less than two weeks away, it’s time for bars and restaurants to start planning their holiday celebrations. Whether you want to go all out for October 31st or you’re not a big fan of the holiday, making even a small effort to acknowledge the day can help satisfy your customers. The following list includes just a few ways that your foodservice can incorporate Halloween festivities.


    Dressing Up


    celebrating halloween at your bar or restaurant - dressing up


    Wearing costumes isn’t just for kids on Halloween. By encouraging your staff and customers to dress up for the day, you’ll help ensure everyone is in the Halloween spirit. Just make sure each costume is appropriate and won’t offend anyone in the restaurant. Your servers’ costumes should all be comfortable and not restrict their movement in any way. After all—providing excellent service should always be a top priority.

    To reward customers who wear costumes, you might want to offer meal or drink discounts. Another idea is hold a best costume contest. Allow customers to enter a contest judged by your staff and reward the winner with a gift card or credit toward a future meal.




    celebrating halloween at your bar or restaurant - decorations


    Another option is to outfit your bar or restaurant with classic Halloween decorations. Items like jack-o-lanterns, skeletons, ghosts, candles, tombstones, mummies, and fake spider webs can help add to the ambiance. By dimming your lights a little more than usual, you’ll give the environment a spooky atmosphere.  Decorating with black and orange balloons is another inexpensive way to enhance Halloween spirit in your bar or restaurant.




    celebrating halloween at your bar or restaurant - music


    Changing your regular music playlist to something that features more Halloween-themed tunes can help set the tone for your celebration. Classic songs like “Monster Mash,” “I Want Candy,” and “Witchy Woman” are just a few of the many options. Theme music to scary movies like “Halloween” can also excel at setting an appropriate tone.


    Menu Items


    celebrating halloween at your bar or restaurant - halloween menu


    Get creative by renaming your drinks and meals so that they honor the holiday. Instead of spaghetti with marinara sauce, change the dish’s name blood-covered worms. Rather than a whiskey sour, offer drinkers a witchy sour. The possibilities for changing names are nearly endless. Consult your staff and see what ideas they might have.




    halloween candy


    What’s Halloween without candy? Even if you already offer post-meal mints, providing diners with free candy is an inexpensive gesture that will put you in good favor with your customers. Since a significant percentage of the population is allergic to nuts, keep that in mind when deciding what candy to offer.




    halloween marketing


    To get a good turnout, you’ll need to make it known that your bar or restaurant will be celebrating Halloween. Post fliers in and around your restaurant and also utilize the many avenues of social media to help spread the word. Servers, bartenders, and hostesses should inform patrons who are leaving about the Halloween festivities planned for the near future.


    Holidays like Halloween give restaurant and bar owners opportunities to differentiate themselves from their competition. By going above and beyond what your patrons expect, you’ll make a great impression and encourage them to come back in the future.