Parked in the small town of Burayu in Ethiopia’s Oromia region, a grounded Ethiopian Airlines passenger jet has now been converted into a café. Decommissioned by the airline and put up for auction three years ago, authorities say it was not easy moving the plane to its current location.
Known for its beautiful setting and homemade honey wine, the café has now become popular in the area, bringing together patrons who love the experience of dining inside an aircraft. The café has also become noted for weddings and birthday parties.
It is believed that successful restaurant concepts are those that provide guests with an experience they will never forget. As the Ethiopian plane café aims towards this, here are some other innovative restaurant concepts that provide good food and beautiful scenic views.
The Labassin Waterfall Restaurant, Villa Escudero Resort, San Pablo City, Philippines
The waterfall restaurant does not allow shoes as it is located right in the middle of a small river and waterfall. There are bamboo tables with staff allowing guests to lean under the rushing waters after ending their meals. Meals often provided include rice and fish. Even though the Labasin Falls is not natural but instead a runoff from the Labasin Dam, it continues to provide a unique experience for guests.
Bubble room – Captiva Island, Florida
This is one of the oldest innovative restaurant concepts in the world. Opened in 1979, Bubble Room started as a small one-room eatery but it has now grown and currently occupies all three stories of the house it started in. Every day is Christmas for the Bubble room, following the presence of the many Father Christmases and all year round Christmas lights. There are also moving trains on all three floors plus the walls are adorned with photographs of old-time movie scenes and stars. Staff at Bubble Room are known as “bubble scouts”, and they are mostly noted for their crazy hats. The restaurant still provides items it began with when it first started, including Bubble bread, Socra cheese, and huge desserts. Music provided at the venue are often from the 1920s to 1940s.
Redwoods Treehouse – Warkworth, New Zealand
This pod-shaped structure built in 2008 is situated 32 feet+ above the ground in a Redwood tree in the town of Warkworth, north of Auckland. The structure can take 30 guests at a time. These guests are able to access the structure through an elevated treetop walkway built of redwood milled on site. The venue is mainly used for private functions and events.
O.Noir – Canada
The concept of dining in the dark was first introduced in Canada in 2006, eventually leading to the opening of O.NOIR in Montreal. The philosophy behind this restaurant is that whoever walks in would have a wonderful experience if their sight is “removed”. And so, at O.NOIR, guests walk in by first going to a lit bar where they place their orders. They are subsequently led by a server into a dining room without light. Here, a two-hour seated dinner service begins with the help of the server, who assists the guests by explaining to them where everything is placed. Many have often described this innovation as the “blind date restaurant” as cell phones and flashlights are not even allowed. A second location was subsequently opened in 2009.
Dinner in the sky – Montreal, Canada
This mobile restaurant suspended 160+ feet in the air, can accommodate 22 diners and three staffers. Originating in Belgium, this innovation comes with a crane which hoists the guests. These guests are securely strapped into dining chairs 160 feet up in the air, along with a table. The staff is always on standby to provide your floating meal. Dinner in the Sky has since received recognition worldwide and now offers limited-run periods in the cities across the world.
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant – Rangali Island, Maldives
The world’s first and only undersea restaurant was opened in 2005 to offer its guests a panoramic view of the Maldives’ sea creatures. The all-glass restaurant has a 14 seat capacity plus a menu consisting of fresh seafood, veal, gourmet meals and beef rib eye. The Rangali Island Resort is encased in a transparent acrylic roof, while a zinc paint coating protects the structure from corrosion.
The Rock Restaurant – Zanzibar, East Africa
Located on the Michanwi Pingwe beach, the huge rock, posited in the water, was used as the base for the restaurant. Guests can reach it by walking, swimming or using a canoe. The wonderful experience is often from the sound of the tides and the fresh breeze from the ocean, not forgetting the delicious seafood and dinner.