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Old 12-21-2004, 01:09 PM   #1
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Gimicky Restaurants

We have a restaurant here called Fire and Ice. (Click her for their website) It is a gimmicky restaurant. The way it works is that you go around to different buffet type stations and put all this food on your plate. They have a veggie section, a seafood section, a beef section, a chicken section, a sauce section etc. You then bring your plate to the center of the room where there is a large circular grill. The cooks all stand in the middle of the grill. You hand your plate of food to the chef who then places it all on the grill. Once the food is cooked they plate it and hand it back to you and then you sit down and eat. You can go up as many times as you like.

The first time I heard about this place I though it sounded like a lot of fun. Well let me tell you it was a huge dissapointment. First off, you have to stand at the grill while they cook your food. what ends up happening is that some people in your part eat faster than others or take longer to go through and collect their food that they want cooked. The result is that you end up sitting at the table while your friends are waiting at the grill. I went with 6 people and there was never more than 2 of us at the table at any given time.

Another drawback is that everything cooks the same amount of time. The place the food on the grill in a narrow row right in front of you. They go down the line from first person to last. Once the food is all down they start at the beginning again and give each line of food a flip. then once they do that they go down the line again and add the sauce you picked. The first time I went up I had beef and chicken. That turned out ok. The second time I had shrimp. My shrimp overcooked majorly because the grill was full so it took them longer to get back and flip my food or take it off the grill. Also because the grill was so crowded, the food on either side of mine bled into my pile, especially the sauce.

This place was a big disaster in my opinion.

What type of gimmicky restaurants are near you and do they work or is it all about the gimmick?

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Old 12-21-2004, 01:15 PM   #2
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Sounds awfully much like BDs Mongolian BBQ, which started here in Michigan. It's OK, we enjoy it (it's a change of pace), but we don't usually go with big groups of people.

Not a lot of other gimicky places that I can think of (not sure if it's because they aren't here, or I just dismiss them and don't think of them again), maybe Bucca Di Beppa's, an Italian family style place - but that's actually a pretty good place for big groups.



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Old 12-21-2004, 01:19 PM   #3
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That sounds awful, geebs. Well, at least now you know.

The only one I can think of around here is the Rain Forest Cafe. You eat some pretty bland food in surroundings that are supposed to look like a rain forest, done with twinkling lights overhead, fake bamboo and vines on the walls, and lots of animated stuffed "jungle animals." Every once in awhile they roll out the fake thunder and lightning effects, often scaring the little kids this is supposed to attract instead of otherwise. And of course there's the store at the front of the house, where you can pick up all sorts of jungle junk.

We only went there when daughter was little and it was her favorite place. Thank God she's outgrown it now.
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Old 12-21-2004, 01:28 PM   #4
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That sounds about one notch up from throwing it in a trough and giving everyone a ladle. :roll:
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Old 12-21-2004, 01:30 PM   #5
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How about those "King Arthur" types of places where you have to eat everything with your hands like "ye dayes of olde"? Never been to one.
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Old 12-21-2004, 01:31 PM   #6
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ronjohn55, is the gimmick of Bucca Di Beppa's that it is family style or is there more of a gimmick?

mudbug, we have a Rain Forest Cafe near us. Thankfully I have been able to avoid it so far. Seems similar to a Hard Rock Cafe type place, but for kids. At least the Hard Rock can be fun to see all the stuff on the walls, but the food stinks.

Otter, I think your description is prefect!
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Old 12-21-2004, 01:34 PM   #7
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Geebs, you will be going when your daughter is old enough! Wait and see. Kids' birthday parties often take place there.
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Old 12-21-2004, 01:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mudbug
How about those "King Arthur" types of places where you have to eat everything with your hands like "ye dayes of olde"? Never been to one.
I went to one of those a few years back. It actually was a very good time. Sort of dinner theater type entertainment. The food was ok. Nothing special, but not bad. The atmosphere was a blast though. You had to ask the kings permission to go to the bathroom. He would always let the ladies go, but the guys had to perform to get permission. Thankfully I can hold it for a long time

That is one gimmicky place that I would go to again. We had a really great time and it was certainly unique.
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Old 12-21-2004, 01:36 PM   #9
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Geebs, you will be going when your daughter is old enough! Wait and see. Kids' birthday parties often take place there.
For my daughter I will go and I will have the best time of my life :D
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Old 12-21-2004, 01:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mudbug
How about those "King Arthur" types of places where you have to eat everything with your hands like "ye dayes of olde"? Never been to one.
Mudbug, I've been to one like that a couple of times called Dixie Stampeed. They have horse races, old west shoot outs, & you sit on opposite sides around the arena & cheer for the north or the south. It was great especially their Christmas show. We took our own plastic spoons & forks so we wouldn't have to use our fingers as much. I just didn't like the idea of drinking soup out of a bowl.
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Old 12-21-2004, 01:48 PM   #11
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Hey, I have nothing against eating with my hands! Most food tastes better that way, and you won't cut your tongue licking your fingers.

GB, I had a neighbor once who worked in one of those "King Arthur" places. She had an excellent singing voice and was a serving wench. From the way she described the place it did sound like it would be a hoot.

Crewsk, haven't seen or heard of your experience, but it reminded me of a place in Sikeston, Missouri. It was sort of a Cracker Barrel type of place, with similar decor and food. The difference was the waiters and waitresses all made wisecracks (to an elderly gentleman and his wife: "And what will your daughter be having?") They also walked around the room with a basket of dinner rolls and would only throw them to you if you wanted more. Wish I could remember the name of the place - it was advertised on the highway for miles before you got there (The Home of Throwed Rolls").
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Old 12-21-2004, 01:54 PM   #12
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GB, I had a neighbor once who worked in one of those "King Arthur" places. She had an excellent singing voice and was a serving wench. From the way she described the place it did sound like it would be a hoot.
How funny. The reason i went was that the girl I was dating at the time had a friend who was a serving wench. She got us in for free. I had a great time calling her a wench (but only while we were there). She took it in great stride :)

Most of the food they served us was finger type food anyway. there wasn't anything like spaghetti or anything like that. I think there was chicken legs and other foods that you would normally eat with your hands. There was soup, but they served it in a very small bowl so it was almost like a cup. the salad was a very chunky salad and they gave you a small individual bowl of dressing so that you could dip the large pieces of veggies in the dressing.
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Old 12-21-2004, 02:19 PM   #13
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uh oh, we're finally seeing gb's dark side...
i love the scene in "cable guy" when they go to medevil times, and they act out the hand to hand fighting, humming the battle song from star trek.
when someone asks the serving wench for a fork, she says"there were no forks in medievil times, hence there are no forks here". then she offers them some pepsi... :roll: :)

the first place gb and ronjohn mentioned, with the food bar and handing the food to the cooks does sound like a mongolian restaurant i have been to, except you pay per bowl. it was ok, but not something i'd have very often.
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Old 12-21-2004, 02:24 PM   #14
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ronjohn55, is the gimmick of Bucca Di Beppa's that it is family style or is there more of a gimmick?
It's part of the gimmick. It's done up with all kinds of old clutter type photos and such. If I recall correctly, it's supposed to be done up like a basement or something. Some of the stuff is actually pretty funny.

One of the tables has a bust of the Pope on a lazy susan. You have to call about a month in advance to get a reservation at that table. There are also a couple of tables right IN in the kitchen. Kind of a crazy place.

http://www.bucadibeppo.com/

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Old 12-21-2004, 02:28 PM   #15
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wow, a publicly held restaurant? is that very common, like with franchised places such as tgi fridays and it's ilk?
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Old 12-21-2004, 03:29 PM   #16
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oooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhh! I love Buca di Beppo! Been to 4 so far. (there aren't that many around here) I've never had the "month in advance" problem - usually you can get reservations within a day or so, unless it's a weekend, then a week in advance. The food is northern italian, and it is fab. I recommend it to anyone, especially those with large parties, as all the food is in big bowls & on big platters. Their tiramisu is truly delectible. I've never had room after dinner for it, but have gone there for coffee & dessert, just to get the goodie. The photos on the wall are so tacky & tasteless, that it's funny...unless you bring your young sons! My husband took one son into the restroom, only to find photos of women in there...without clothing....
If you're new to the restaurant, they do lead you like schoolkids on a field trip through the kitchen (actually, next to) and the chefs wave. It's cute.
Best of all: excellent service!!!

As for others mentioned: Rain Forest: used to have decent food, now it tastes like Denny's....
Medieval Times: I abhor eating with my hands. Overpriced, interesting show, with medieval crap to purchase in the gift shop.

as for the fire & ice...please tell me they plate your food on a clean plate....
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Old 12-21-2004, 03:31 PM   #17
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I think there is a restaurant down in Melbourne (pretty sure it is not in Sydney) where you eat in the dark. The idea being that without your eye-sight your other senses become hightened.
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Old 12-21-2004, 03:35 PM   #18
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Jkath, It's only the Pope-head table that has the wait list, AFAIK. We can usually just show up (Sheila and I) and get seated without much of a wait.


Buckytom, I think it's more common to be publicly traded with the chain type places, like Bennigans and such, but I think usually they're listed under a holding compnay name, so you won't likely see Ruby Tuesday's on the stock ticker.

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Old 12-21-2004, 03:53 PM   #19
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Quote:
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I think there is a restaurant down in Melbourne (pretty sure it is not in Sydney) where you eat in the dark. The idea being that without your eye-sight your other senses become hightened.
and what if there is a large bug on your plate?
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Old 12-21-2004, 03:54 PM   #20
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use a steak knife?
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