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Bube's Brewery
Bube's Brewery

13 of the Strangest Restaurant Spots in America

Bube's Brewery
Bube's Brewery

There are few places today’s Americans can go without being bombarded by food. We have restaurants in our parks, our furniture stores, and sometimes our gas stations. But even in the U.S., there are still a handful of places where it would feel unnatural to chow down. That wasn’t enough to stop these business owners from choosing some rather unconventional locations to open their eateries.

1. THE YURT AT SOLITUDE 

If you ever dreamed of eating a four-course dinner inside an authentic yurt, now you don’t have to travel to Mongolia to do so. The Yurt at the Solitude Mountain Resort is located about 30 miles outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, but diners are still required to make a bit of a trek before they can sit down to enjoy their meal. Patrons are guided on an “evening snowshoe adventure” that lasts a little less than half a mile through a lantern-lit forest. Then for $125 per person, a group of no more than 24 guests can enjoy a gourmet meal that chefs prepare right in front of them. After trudging through the snow to get there, we’re sure anything served warm would taste delicious. 

2. CHICAGO SWEATLODGE

“Restaurant” and “sweatlodge” are two concepts that should never cross paths, but unfortunately they already have at this Chicago establishment. Male guests at the traditional Russian bania begin the experience by sweating out toxins in the sauna as employees come around to beat them with a bundle of leaves. They then rush into a cold-water bath, a shock that’s supposed to be good for the circulatory system. After spending the day sweaty and naked, they can then retreat to the café for delicacies like borsht, marinated herring, and steamy chicken soup

3. TWINS CREEK CAFÉ AT FRANK KENT HONDA

Few things are more American than cars and burgers, so it should come as no surprise that there’s a place in Texas that sells both. The Frank Kent Honda dealership in Fort Worth is home to the Twins Creek Café, a classic eatery that serves burgers, salads, and even breakfast foods. Their signature menu item is the “OMG” Burger that’s made with a secret blend of ground beef cuts and can come served on a jalapeño bun. Even if you don’t leave with the car of your dreams, at least you can go home with a full stomach. 

4. THE AIRPLANE RESTAURANT

Dave Dugdale, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0 

The dining experience at this Colorado Springs restaurant is far from a typical in-flight meal. For one, the 1953 Boeing KC-97 tanker never leaves the ground, and the renovated interior provides significantly more legroom. The inside of the 275-seat airplane restaurant, also known as Solo’s, is covered with pictures and memorabilia commemorating aviation history. Diners can enjoy such flight-themed menu options as their “runway crunchy chicken strips” and “air tower nachos.” 

5. HARVEY WASHBANGERS

 

At this Laundromat/restaurant, diners don’t have to rush home if they spill gravy on their nice shirt. A “state of the art” Laundromat is connected to Washbanger’s bar and restaurant, which serves up gut-busting fare like their jalapeño cream cheese burger and coconut pecan pie. Located next to Texas A&M University, the establishment mainly serves college students, who are notorious consumers of both self-service laundry and greasy foods. The concept is actually a brilliant way to get patrons to spend more money as they’re waiting for their clothes to dry. Maybe more Laundromats should start serving burgers.

6. AQUARIUM RESTAURANT

Guests at this undersea-themed restaurant in Nashville have the pleasure of dining in the presence of a floor-to-ceiling, 200,000-gallon aquarium. The atmosphere is the perfect way to get diners in the mood for menu items like fish and chips, fried calamari, and grilled mahi mahi. The possibilities for “see food” jokes are endless.

7. FIFE & DRUM

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Fife & Drum in Concord, Massachusetts is the only restaurant in the country serving meals made by prisoners. Customers must go through security before entering the restaurant located inside the Northeastern Correctional Center. They can then enjoy a prix fixe, made-from-scratch meal, all for the price of $3.21. It’s part of the minimum-security prison’s culinary program, which is meant to equip inmates with the skills they’d need to work in a restaurant after their release. 

8. RATTLESNAKE SALOON 

Jimmy Emerson, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The restaurant’s website describes itself as “the watering hole under the rock,” and that’s pretty much what it is. The Tuscumbia, Alabama establishment is built beneath a cliff overhang and has outdoor seating so guests can get the full experience of dining among the natural beauty. The saloon adheres to an Old West theme, serving up fare like “giddy-up sticks” and “chuckwagon nachos.” Some nights they even have live bands utilizing the cave’s natural acoustics.

9. TEMPLE CANTEEN

Jason Eppink, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

The Hindu Temple Society of North America in Queens, New York has been a prominent meeting place for American Hindus since 1977. In addition to being a venue for religious services, classes, and concerts, they also serve Indian food to the public from their basement. Offerings at the Temple Canteen range in price from 50 cents to $5.50, and they even accept credit cards.

10. OASIS CAFÉ

J. Zay,  Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

The Wabash Jewelers Mall in Chicago is a great place to shop for necklaces, engagement rings, and some of the best falafel the city has to offer. The Oasis Café is located in the back of a jewelry store, and offers Middle Eastern specialties like hummus, tabouleh, and baba ganouj. Everything’s under $7, so you’ll have plenty of money left over to go diamond shopping afterwards.

11. M. WELLS DINETTE

Daniel Zemans, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

New York's critically acclaimed M. Wells Dinette is located in Museum of of Modern Art PS1, in a building that used to be a red brick schoolhouse. As an homage to the location’s history, the restaurant has adopted a classroom theme, seating diners at desks and plastic chairs and providing them with composition notebooks to doodle in. Specials are scribbled on the classic green chalk boards at the front of the room and gourmet meals are served on tin cafeteria trays.

12. THE CATACOMBS

Located several stories beneath Bube’s Brewery in Lancaster, Pennsylvania lies the Catacombs restaurant. Diners can enjoy fine wines, local brews, and classic delicacies within the confines of the stone-lined vaults. Before descending to their dinner, customers are greeted by a “costumed guide” who takes them on a tour through the brewery. The establishments also offer ghost tours, because according to the owners, paranormal activity is everywhere within the buidling.

13. POST OFFICE PIES

Some of the best pizza in Alabama is being fired up inside a historic post office. Post Office Pies opened in the former Avondale post office in 2014, and they’ve already earned a spot on Thrillist’s list of 33 best pizzas shops in America.  Oddly enough, they don’t deliver.

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Animals
Bizarre New Species of Crabs and a Giant Sea Cockroach Discovered in Waters Off Indonesia
One known species of isopod, or "giant sea cockroach"
One known species of isopod, or "giant sea cockroach"
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A crab with green googly eyes, another with "ears" resembling peanuts, and a species of giant sea cockroach are among the dozen new kinds of crustaceans discovered by scientists in the waters off Indonesia, Channel News Asia reports.

These finds are the result of a two-week expedition by Indonesian and Singaporean scientists with the South Java Deep Sea Biodiversity Expedition (SJADES 2018), which involved exploring deep waters in the Sunda Strait (the waterway separating the islands of Sumatra and Java in Southeast Asia) and the Indian Ocean. Using trawls, dredges, and other tools, researchers brought a huge variety of deep-sea life to the surface—some species for the very first time.

"The world down there is an alien world," Peter Ng, chief scientist of the expedition, told Channel News Asia. "You have waters that go down more than 2000 to 3000 meters [9800 feet], and we do not know … the animal life that's at the bottom."

The giant sea cockroach—technically a giant isopod, also nicknamed a Darth Vader isopod—is a new species in the genus Bathynomus, measuring almost a foot long and found more than 4000 feet deep. The isopods are occasionally seen on the ocean floor, where they scuttle around scavenging for dead fish and other animals. This marked the first time the genus has ever been recorded in Indonesia.

Another find is a spider crab nicknamed Big Ears, though it doesn't actually have ears—its peanut-shaped plates are used to protect the crab's eyes.

More than 800 species were collected during the expedition, accounting for 12,000 individual animals. Researchers say it will take up to two years to study all of them. In addition to the 12 species that are completely new to science, 40 were seen for the first time in Indonesia. Creatures that the scientists dubbed a chain-saw lobster, an ice cream cone worm, and a cock-eyed squid were among some of the rarer finds.

A "Chain-Saw Lobster"
Nicknamed the "Chain-Saw Lobster," this creature is a rare blind lobster, found only in the deep seas.

Researchers took to the giant sea cockroach quickly, with some of the crew members reportedly calling it “cute” and cradling it like a baby. Check out Channel News Asia Insider's video below for more insight into their creepy finds.

[h/t Channel News Asia]

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Weird
The Mysterious Case of the Severed Feet in British Columbia
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While walking on the beach, many people look out for a number of things: Shells, buried treasure, crabs, and dolphins among them. But if you’re on a beach in British Columbia, you might want to keep an eye out for something a little more sinister—about 15 severed feet have washed up on the shores there in the past few years. The latest was found on May 6, wedged in a mass of logs on Gabriola Island, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The feet have been surprising unlucky British Columbians for over a decade. The first appeared back in 2007 on Jedediah Island; it was eventually matched to a deceased man whose family declined to provide additional information. Bizarre, but not particularly alarming—until another one showed up on Gabriola Island less than a month later. More feet followed, and though some were matched to missing persons, most remained anonymous (feet, unfortunately, don’t contain much identifying information). Instead, police focused on the fact that each foot was encased in a running shoe—though sizes, genders, and brands differed.

This seems like a real-life episode of The X-Files, but it turns out there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for the severed feet: They’re not really “severed,” which would indicate cutting or slicing, at all. According to scientists who tested the theory, the feet likely belong to suicide, drowning, or plane crash victims. It’s common for decomposing bodies to come apart at the joint, making it natural for the foot to come apart from the leg. But if that’s the case, wouldn’t hands be similarly susceptible to washing up on beaches? Nope, that’s where the shoes come in.

While the rest of the body naturally decomposes in water, feet are surprisingly well protected inside the rubber and fabric of a shoe. The soles can be pretty buoyant, and sometimes air pockets get trapped inside the shoe, making it float to the surface. Most of the “severed” feet have been clad in jogging shoes such as Nikes and Pumas, but at least one case involves a hiking boot. In that instance, the boot (and foot) was matched to a man who went missing while fishing more than 25 years ago. The most recent case also involves a hiking boot.

That leaves the question: Why British Columbia? According to Richard Thompson, an oceanographer with the federal Institute of Ocean Sciences, it’s connected to ocean current. “There’s a lot of recirculation in the region; we’re working here with a semi-enclosed basin. Fraser River, False Creek, Burrard Inlet—all those regions around there are somewhat semi-enclosed. The tidal currents and the winds can keep things that are floating recirculating in the system." Several feet have also been found further south, in Washington state, which shares a network of coastal waterways with British Columbia.

Others aren’t so quick to accept this scientific analysis, however. Criminal lawyer and crime author Michael Slade still wonders if a serial killer is afoot. "We also have to consider that this could be a serial killer," he said. "Somebody who right now is underneath the radar. That has to be on the table."

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