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7 Movie and TV Themed Restaurants Around the World

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Image Credit: Loren Javier, Flickr // CC: BY-NC-ND 2.0

Have you ever wanted to eat dinner aboard a sinking Titanic, or visit a place where everyone knows your name? Or maybe relaxing on a large orange couch and drinking coffee out of giant mugs is more your style. All over the world, there are movie and TV show themed restaurants and bars, giving fans a chance to dine among the scenery they’ve only ever seen on screen. In 2012, The Week published a list of nine movie-inspired theme bars—here are seven more to add to your bucket list.

1. Friends

Central Perk may be one of the most recognizable fictional hangouts of all time, not to mention one of the most comfortable. But if you happened to miss out on the Big Apple Friends' pop-up shop last year, there's a year-round Central Perk in Beijing, with a replica of Joey and Chandler’s apartment right next door.

2. Breaking Bad

Image Credit: ABQ, Facebook

Cook up your own cocktails in an RV with professional mixologists at ABQ, London’s very own ode to Walter White. Running for three months starting this July, the RV holds 20-22 people at a time, and a ticket, which includes two cocktails, is £30 or $46. So far, 24,750 people have reserved spots.

A Los Pollos Hermanos fried-chicken joint may also be in the works. During Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan’s Reddit AMA, he mentioned that one enterprising individual had expressed interest in making the fictional restaurant a reality.

3. Doctor Who

Image Credit: The Pandorica, Facebook

Whovians can enjoy a wide variety of dishes at The Pandorica, a Doctor Who-themed restaurant in Beacon, NY. While the decor is clearly Time Lord inspired, it’s classy and subtle—TARDIS paintings adorn the walls, and small centerpieces and other details pay homage to the show. Episodes of Doctor Who play on a TV screen, and they even have weekly Doctor Who trivia night.

4. Forrest Gump

Image Credit: Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurants, Inc., Facebook

Named after Pvt. Benjamin Buford 'Bubba' Blue and his pal Forrest Gump, the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant chain seeks to capture the down-home feel of the Oscar winning film. Menu items include "Mama Gump’s Garlic Bread Basket," the "Run Across America Sampler," and "Lt. Dan’s Drunken Shrimp." Since the restaurant’s debut in 1996, the chain has expanded to 40 locations around the world.  

5. Titanic

A Titanic-themed restaurant has got to be a hard sell, yet two restaurants—one in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, the other in Williamstown, Australia—have done their best to turn the tragedy into a positive dining experience. Café Jack, an Asian-fusion restaurant, is an actual boat sitting on a 6500-square-foot plot in the middle of Los Angeles. Since 2007, guests who come aboard dine among posters, publicity stills, decorations similar to those in the film, and, according to a write up in LA Weekly, lots of hearts. 

The Titanic Theatre Restaurant in Williamstown is a more interactive experience. Guests enjoy live entertainment, the option to travel in “first class” or “steerage,” a three-course meal, and quite a bit of booze. Costumes are encouraged, but if you forget to bring your own, you can rent one from the restaurant.

6. Cheers

Image Credit: Cheers, Facebook

Cheers ended its 11 season run back in 1993, but the bar that inspired the NBC hit is still in business. The inside of the Beacon Hill staple isn’t identical to its fictional counterpart—the set designers needed to create a layout that would accommodate a live audience’s viewing angle—however, the show did use the bar’s facade for its opening shot.

7. Mamma Mia

Image Credit: MAMMA MIA! North America, Facebook

Former ABBA member Bjorn Ulvaeus is getting into the restaurant biz with a new Mamma Mia-themed restaurant concept. The Greek taverna setting of the beloved (and soon-to-close) Broadway play will be transported to Stockholm’s Grona Lund amusement park. There, it will house an interactive dinner theater based around the character of Nico, the 50-something taverna owner, and his younger Swedish wife. The restaurant is set to open in January.

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iStock / Collage by Jen Pinkowski
The Elements
9 Diamond-Like Facts About Carbon
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iStock / Collage by Jen Pinkowski

How well do you know the periodic table? Our series The Elements explores the fundamental building blocks of the observable universe—and their relevance to your life—one by one.
It can be glittering and hard. It can be soft and flaky. It can look like a soccer ball. Carbon is the backbone of every living thing—and yet it just might cause the end of life on Earth as we know it. How can a lump of coal and a shining diamond be composed of the same material? Here are eight things you probably didn't know about carbon.


It's in every living thing, and in quite a few dead ones. "Water may be the solvent of the universe," writes Natalie Angier in her classic introduction to science, The Canon, "but carbon is the duct tape of life." Not only is carbon duct tape, it's one hell of a duct tape. It binds atoms to one another, forming humans, animals, plants and rocks. If we play around with it, we can coax it into plastics, paints, and all kinds of chemicals.


It sits right at the top of the periodic table, wedged in between boron and nitrogen. Atomic number 6, chemical sign C. Six protons, six neutrons, six electrons. It is the fourth most abundant element in the universe after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen, and 15th in the Earth's crust. While its older cousins hydrogen and helium are believed to have been formed during the tumult of the Big Bang, carbon is thought to stem from a buildup of alpha particles in supernova explosions, a process called supernova nucleosynthesis.


While humans have known carbon as coal and—after burning—soot for thousands of years, it was Antoine Lavoisier who, in 1772, showed that it was in fact a unique chemical entity. Lavoisier used an instrument that focused the Sun's rays using lenses which had a diameter of about four feet. He used the apparatus, called a solar furnace, to burn a diamond in a glass jar. By analyzing the residue found in the jar, he was able to show that diamond was comprised solely of carbon. Lavoisier first listed it as an element in his textbook Traité Élémentaire de Chimie, published in 1789. The name carbon derives from the French charbon, or coal.


It can form four bonds, which it does with many other elements, creating hundreds of thousands of compounds, some of which we use daily. (Plastics! Drugs! Gasoline!) More importantly, those bonds are both strong and flexible.


May Nyman, a professor of inorganic chemistry at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon tells Mental Floss that carbon has an almost unbelievable range. "It makes up all life forms, and in the number of substances it makes, the fats, the sugars, there is a huge diversity," she says. It forms chains and rings, in a process chemists call catenation. Every living thing is built on a backbone of carbon (with nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, and other elements). So animals, plants, every living cell, and of course humans are a product of catenation. Our bodies are 18.5 percent carbon, by weight.

And yet it can be inorganic as well, Nyman says. It teams up with oxygen and other substances to form large parts of the inanimate world, like rocks and minerals.


Carbon is found in four major forms: graphite, diamonds, fullerenes, and graphene. "Structure controls carbon's properties," says Nyman.  Graphite ("the writing stone") is made up of loosely connected sheets of carbon formed like chicken wire. Penciling something in actually is just scratching layers of graphite onto paper. Diamonds, in contrast, are linked three-dimensionally. These exceptionally strong bonds can only be broken by a huge amount of energy. Because diamonds have many of these bonds, it makes them the hardest substance on Earth.

Fullerenes were discovered in 1985 when a group of scientists blasted graphite with a laser and the resulting carbon gas condensed to previously unknown spherical molecules with 60 and 70 atoms. They were named in honor of Buckminster Fuller, the eccentric inventor who famously created geodesic domes with this soccer ball–like composition. Robert Curl, Harold Kroto, and Richard Smalley won the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering this new form of carbon.

The youngest member of the carbon family is graphene, found by chance in 2004 by Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov in an impromptu research jam. The scientists used scotch tape—yes, really—to lift carbon sheets one atom thick from a lump of graphite. The new material is extremely thin and strong. The result: the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010.


Diamonds are called "ice" because their ability to transport heat makes them cool to the touch—not because of their look. This makes them ideal for use as heat sinks in microchips. (Synthethic diamonds are mostly used.) Again, diamonds' three-dimensional lattice structure comes into play. Heat is turned into lattice vibrations, which are responsible for diamonds' very high thermal conductivity.


American scientist Willard F. Libby won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1960 for developing a method for dating relics by analyzing the amount of a radioactive subspecies of carbon contained in them. Radiocarbon or C14 dating measures the decay of a radioactive form of carbon, C14, that accumulates in living things. It can be used for objects that are as much as 50,000 years old. Carbon dating help determine the age of Ötzi the Iceman, a 5300-year-old corpse found frozen in the Alps. It also established that Lancelot's Round Table in Winchester Cathedral was made hundreds of years after the supposed Arthurian Age.


Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an important part of a gaseous blanket that is wrapped around our planet, making it warm enough to sustain life. But burning fossil fuels—which are built on a carbon backbone—releases more carbon dioxide, which is directly linked to global warming. A number of ways to remove and store carbon dioxide have been proposed, including bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, which involves planting large stands of trees, harvesting and burning them to create electricity, and capturing the CO2 created in the process and storing it underground. Yet another approach that is being discussed is to artificially make oceans more alkaline in order to let them to bind more CO2. Forests are natural carbon sinks, because trees capture CO2 during photosynthesis, but human activity in these forests counteracts and surpasses whatever CO2 capture gains we might get. In short, we don't have a solution yet to the overabundance of C02 we've created in the atmosphere.

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Big Questions
Why Don't We Eat Turkey Tails?
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Turkey sandwiches. Turkey soup. Roasted turkey. This year, Americans will consume roughly 245 million birds, with 46 million being prepared and presented on Thanksgiving. What we don’t eat will be repurposed into leftovers.

But there’s one part of the turkey that virtually no family will have on their table: the tail.

Despite our country’s obsession with fattening, dissecting, and searing turkeys, we almost inevitably pass up the fat-infused rear portion. According to Michael Carolan, professor of sociology and associate dean for research at the College for Liberal Arts at Colorado State University, that may have something to do with how Americans have traditionally perceived turkeys. Consumption was rare prior to World War II. When the birds were readily available, there was no demand for the tail because it had never been offered in the first place.

"Tails did and do not fit into what has become our culinary fascination with white meat," Carolan tells Mental Floss. "But also from a marketing [and] processor standpoint, if the consumer was just going to throw the tail away, or will not miss it if it was omitted, [suppliers] saw an opportunity to make additional money."

Indeed, the fact that Americans didn't have a taste for tail didn't prevent the poultry industry from moving on. Tails were being routed to Pacific Island consumers in the 1950s. Rich in protein and fat—a turkey tail is really a gland that produces oil used for grooming—suppliers were able to make use of the unwanted portion. And once consumers were exposed to it, they couldn't get enough.

“By 2007,” according to Carolan, “the average Samoan was consuming more than 44 pounds of turkey tails every year.” Perhaps not coincidentally, Samoans also have alarmingly high obesity rates of 75 percent. In an effort to stave off contributing factors, importing tails to the Islands was banned from 2007 until 2013, when it was argued that doing so violated World Trade Organization rules.

With tradition going hand-in-hand with commerce, poultry suppliers don’t really have a reason to try and change domestic consumer appetites for the tails. In preparing his research into the missing treat, Carolan says he had to search high and low before finally finding a source of tails at a Whole Foods that was about to discard them. "[You] can't expect the food to be accepted if people can't even find the piece!"

Unless the meat industry mounts a major campaign to shift American tastes, Thanksgiving will once again be filled with turkeys missing one of their juicier body parts.

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