The Weirdest Restaurant Spots Across America
Planes, train stations and even a Ferris wheel make for innovative eateries in this list of wacky places to grab a meal.
America can take credit for inventing Frito pie, Jell-O salad and the Slurpee. But Americans are not only creative about what they eat, they’re also imaginative when it comes to where they eat. Here, we’ve rounded up 12 of the strangest places to grab a meal, including hundreds of feet below ground, hovering from a carnival ride above ground, and in soapy, sappy and citrusy places in between.
1. Two hundred feet underground
Here’s an underground restaurant in the literal sense (not just a secret pop-up). Located on the Arizona stretch of Route 66, Cavern Grotto is 21 stories below ground. Bonus: Meals include a tour through the Grand Canyon Caverns.
2. On a 1950s military aircraft
Who says you can’t get a good meal on a plane? Visitors to The Airplane Restaurant in Colorado Springs, Colorado, can feast on steaks, catfish and hush puppies on a retired Boeing KC-97 tanker.
3. In a tree house
Norwood’s in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, proves that tree houses aren’t only for kids. This restaurant, bar and wine shop has outdoor seating between branches and under a canopy of leaves, and they pour a mean glass of pinot.
4. Inside an iconic train station
It’s well known that you can still catch a train at LA’s Union Station, which dates back to 1939 and has been called the “last of the great railway stations.” But what’s less known is that you can also grab an elegant meal there. Traxx restaurant is the height of depot dining.
5. On a Ferris wheel
At Betty Danger’s Country Club in Minneapolis, Minnesota, you can eat and go for a spin on a carnival ride at the same time. The restaurant (which is open to all—they call it a “country club for the 99 percent”) has Ferris wheel seating. Dine and drink with aerial views.
6. In a fire station
Big pancake breakfast meets old-school fire station at Engine Company 3 in Milwaukee. The station, which dates back to 1904, now serves global brunch recipes—from French quiche Lorraine to Colombian calentado—in a space that’s filled with fire department memorabilia (even a giant life net!).
7. Within a tiki-style wonderland
San Francisco isn’t exactly tropical, but it’s easy to forget that while dining at Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar. The Nob Hill restaurant has a manmade lagoon, scheduled rain showers, and cocktails served in pineapples, coconuts and tiki totems.
8. At a former county jail
You can expect more than bread and water at Cell Block 104 in Lebanon, Indiana. What was once the Boone County Jail, built in 1938, is now a friendly eatery serving wings, burgers and cheese curds.
9. Inside an aquarium
If you’ve always wondered how your pet guppy feels, it’s time to eat at Aquarium, where you can get a taste for the aquatic life without actually getting wet. This fish-filled eatery—with locations in Denver, Nashville, Houston and Kemah, Texas—has tables with floor-to-ceiling aquarium views.
10. At the local laundromat
One household chore is now sweeter (and crunchier…and cheesier), thanks to Harvey Washbangers in College Station, Texas. Do your laundry and sink your teeth into a jalapeño cream cheese burger at the same time at this laundry spot/bar and grill.
11. Inside an oversized orange
It’s hard to overlook The Mammoth Orange in Redfield, Arkansas, which looks exactly the way it sounds—like a gigantic piece of fruit. The beloved citrus-shaped diner is known for its burgers and fries. As for its signature beverage, that’s orange drink, of course.
12. In a Honda dealership
Get a car and a decent meal at Twin Creeks Café. The Fort Worth, Texas, dealership has both Hondas and hot patty melts, which certainly beat the vending machines and Styrofoam cups of bland coffee you’ll find at other lots.