I figure the 1980s was probably the height of the theme restaurant fad, but notice that plenty of novelty restaurants - The Rainforest Cafe, ESPN Zone, Hard Rock Cafe, Outbacks, Medieval Times, Hooters, Planet Hollywood, Mars 2021, etc. - are still doing a roaring business.
Following are some novelty restaurant ideas that I think would be huge hits. Anyone have any venture capital just sitting around?
- Piranhas. With it's Amazonian decor, indiginous music soundtrack, and menu of exotic dishes (hippo burgers! curried caiman! leafcutter ant salad!), such a restaurant would be an instant hit. And that's before the restaurant's primary novelty attraction: a big tank of piranhas. Guests would be encouraged to dump their leftovers into the tank and watch the fish swarm to consume them. It's the next big thing in recycling!
- Excaliburgers. My foray into the fast food business. Restaurants would have a "Knights of the Round Table" theme, complete with actual round tables, each with one "king" chair, padded in red velvet so as to hide the bloodstains generated by the hundreds of thousands of children that will immediately break out into fistfights over who gets to sit in them. Want a scabbard of fries with that?
- Ringside. My entry into the "sports bar" category. Watch actual boxing matches from the comfort of your own ringside table, because nothing adds "savory" to food like spattering body fluids.
- The Minuteman Diner. A place for true American patriots to indulge in honest, American food like pizza, tacos, chili, lasagna, fried rice, and more.
- The Titanic Dining Room. Everyone else has capitalized on this famous disaster: why not the restaurant industry? Patrons would be treated to an evening of opulant dining in an exact replica of the Titanic dining room, ordering from menus matching those offered to Titanic guests during their (brief) cruise and listening to music of the era performed by a live orchestra. To add even more verissimilitude, the sound system will pipe in actual (replicated) transmissions from the Titanic's fateful last day, so patrons can viscerally experience the drama of the event while relaxing over their deliciously chilled iceburg lettuce salads.
- Northern Lights. My foray into the coffee bar category. The restaurants would be decorated to resemble northern hunting lodges, complete with snowshoes, endangered caribou antlers, cuddly polar bears pelts, and photos of baby seal hunts on the walls. But the real attraction would be overhead, as a laser display replicates the northern lights in all their eerie neon splendor. Of course, laser displays require smoke upon which to project, so smoking would not merely be encouraged but actually required. Oh - and all the drinks would be secretly laced with "5 Hour Energy." I figure the combination of caffeine, nicotine, and 5 Hour Energy boost are sure to guaratee a devoted (and highly addicted) customer base.
- Hippyland. Get your '60s on at this theme restaurant featuring groovy decor, an even groovier soundtrack, and a menu featuring such period favorites as Yellow Submarine Tuna Sandwiches, Psychadelic Salmon, and Magic Mushrooms. All food served on genuine hemp tablewear, because it's recycleable, man. Go ahead, give peas a chance.
- Custard's Last Stand. The next big craze in ice cream (and political correctness) - egg custard served in cake cones shaped like pistol holsters. The store would specialize in flavors inspired by Native American agriculture - pumpkin custard, sweet potato custard, etc. Naturally, the decor would include artists' renditions of the fateful battle, because what could be more politically correct than celebrating one the few times Native Americans whooped the asses of their invaders?
- Knockers. Kind of a Hooters knock-off, but the large-breasted waitresses all wear pink outfits to express their support for breast cancer awareness. Similarly, all the decor is pink, the table service is pink, and much of the food is pink. Women who have actually suffered from breast cancer receive a complimentary slice of pink cake while the waitstaff gathers around the table to sing (with all the enthusiasm they usually bring to "Happy Birthday") "She's a Pink Warrior." Hamburgers would be ordered by cup size rather than by weight in ounces ("I'm starving - better bring me a double-D!"), with mini "nippleburgers" available for the kids. Naturally, 5% of each vastly overpriced meal would be donated to breast cancer charities. Finally, a restaurant with something to appeal to the whole family!