It's Not The Food

It started life as the Novel Coffeehouse, just selling books. But too many of the customers would come in and read books without buying them, so they gave up the book business. Instead, they pasted up an entire novel, page by page(two copies, so that each page could be displayed)around the walls of the coffeehouse. It was a nice gimmick, but nobody could agree on the choice of novel--some wanted the bestsellers, some the lit'ry stuff, some epic fantasy(which had to go onto the ceiling and into the washrooms, leading to some embarrassing incidents). So they took a bunch of discarded novels and took pages from them at random. Changed the name to the Cut-up Cafe.


They promised an "underwater" dining experience, and had the sign "Shorts, no shoes--service!" Underneath it said "swimwear provided". The restaurant was half-submerged, and the tables floated there like lily pads, with stalks to anchor them. The walls were strategically shaped to keep waves from building up too much from the constant movements of waitrons and patrons, and the tables had high rims to keep out most of the water. Many boiled dishes are served. Catch-your-own-seafood was not a success.


Dante's was divided into nine sections, in concentric circles, descending and getting narrower. You could, if you wanted, eat a difference course in each circle, with an iced dessert in the eighth. The only way out was at the bottom. Many customers complained about the red lighting making it hard to tell how well their meat was done.


The Moonless Night billed itself as a "nightclub". It also saved bundles on lighting by not having any(except in the kitchen, but that was shielded so none reached the customers). Instead, the dishes, cutlery, and glasses were fluorescent. The customers came looking for ambience and left with a few more rads than was good for them.

Changing their name to Franklin's, they instead put tall metal rods in the centres of the tables and gave the ceiling a strong negative charge. You had to eat your food quickly while you could still see it, before the flash died and the spark leapt to the next table. Exceedingly tall people were given thick rubber overshoes to wear.


They offered special One-Time Valet Parking. Toss your keys to the disreputable-looking fellow outside, and wait just a few minutes for your car to be ready and waiting for you, a nice compact cube for you to eat off of.


Their walls were festooned with rare signs collected from thousands of places around the world. Sometimes collectors would come in and slip a particularly mint edition under his trenchcoat and leave nonchalantly. Eventually they started turning all the signs around backwards, leaving the frustrated connoisseur to guess.


Stalk 'N' Eat was a brief success, but only a few diehards could stomach more than a few times of eating something they'd killed minutes ago with their bare hands. Catering to a different market, they suffered too many lawsuits and ran afoul of endangered species laws, and were forced to close down.


For those who couldn't afford to fly, The Boeing Eatery let you sit in cramped seats, look at cloudscapes out the window, and enjoy simulated turbulence courtesy of hydraulic generators. The food is better not mentioned.


The interior of the Corpus Delecti was quite accurately decorated like the interior of a human body. The smoking section was in the centre, in a section decorated entirely in tar.


The Pyramid had its tables on the outside, not the inside. Adhesive sauces and securely-bolted furniture were used to keep food and diners from sliding down the forty-five degree slope.

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The Den of Ubiquity/ Aaron V. Humphrey / alfvaen@gmail.com