Restaurants That Only Exist Because Of A Movie

Ever watch a restaurant scene in a movie and think, "Hey, that looks pretty good?" Or that maybe the movie itself would make for a fun vibe to eat in? You're not the only one. Lots of movies have been the inspiration for real-life restaurants that thrive on nostalgia, devoted fan bases, and curious diners looking for an out-of-the-ordinary meal. And then there are, of course, the amusement park eateries, like the ones in Star Wars Galaxy's Edge or Harry Potter World. To make sure ticketholders enjoy a fully immersive experience, even the food stays in theme with the movie franchises.

As for their success rates? It really depends. Dive!, a group of restaurants built around Steven Spielberg's underwater blockbusters and partially backed by the famed director himself, tanked quickly, shuttering all of its locations within just a few years (via Mental Floss). Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, on the other hand, a concept taken straight out of the movie "Forrest Gump," continues to thrive decades after its first location opened, with multiple outposts all over the world. One thing worth noting: If you go to a restaurant that's based on a motion picture, you're probably not going to be served haute cuisine. We'd almost always predict that the food plays second fiddle to the kitsch. If you're curious how many restaurants exist only because of a feature film, the list might be longer than you think.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

This chain debuted in 1996, one year after "Forrest Gump" swept the Academy Awards (via Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and IMDb). Ripping a page right from one of its storylines — in which Gump starts a shrimp business named for his kind-hearted friend, Benjamin Buford "Bubba" Blue, who dies in Vietnam — the menu at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company features a bounty of shrimp dishes in addition to typical American fare.

While some industry experts initially told the Los Angeles Times that they doubted its chances at long-term success, the franchise now includes over 20 restaurants in the United States and several locations abroad. Reviews of the food have been surprisingly positive to boot. The Cajun-spiced shrimp, declared British paper The Guardian, are "seriously bloody brilliant. They are cooked sensitively, have real bite, and the seasoning is bang on," while the jambalaya is "full of perfectly cooked fat prawns, which gives real heft to the mix of sticky rice and spiced sausage." Not to mention, the reviewer adds, the service is terrific, a detail that would undoubtedly make Forrest Gump himself quite proud.

The Green Dragon Inn

Life literally imitates art at the Green Dragon Inn in New Zealand. Not only was the area where the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "The Hobbit" were filmed turned into a tourist attraction, but the pub built on the set has also become a real-life place of business. The Green Dragon Inn, where many a Hobbit kicked back with pints and laughter, officially started welcoming human customers in 2012 (via HuffPost). Several actors from the films celebrated its debut, in addition to the Prime Minister himself, who cut through a chain-linked front door with a pair of bolt cutters to officially open it up to guests.

The Inn is only available to those already taking the full Hobbiton set tour. It's the last stop, where guests are treated to a complimentary drink at the end of the tour. If they wish to indulge further, the menu includes a variety of Hobbit-inspired ales, ciders, and a selection of dishes described in Hobbit-speak as "traditional fayre." In addition to the two-hour daytime tours, evening tours are offered that conclude at the Inn with a full banquet feast. And die-hard "Lord of the Rings" fans looking to get hitched are in luck: The entire venue is available for private bookings and celebrations.

The restaurants in Harry Potter World

Yes, the "Harry Potter" movies are based on the books, but would a series of books serve as the inspiration for an entire amusement park franchise? We think not. The "Harry Potter" movies paved the way for multiple Wizarding World of Harry Potter locations around the world, all with their own variety of Harry Potter-themed restaurants to choose from. At Universal Orlando, for example, there are no less than five food and beverage spots, including two sit-down eateries, a bar, an ice cream parlor, and a candy store (via The Park Prodigy). At Universal Hollywood, Three Broomsticks is the place to replenish yourself in between rides and adventures.

The menus are, of course, pretty kid-friendly. The drink Butterbeer, for example, sounds like an adult beverage, but actually contains no alcohol. Neither does Pumpkin Fizz, which, according to Bon Appétit, is basically just a delicious, fruit-flavored soda. The entrées are heartier than your typical fast-food fare, with selections including beef and lamb stews and Sunday roast. Everyone is likely to leave with a sugar high thanks to the plethora of dessert selections like sticky toffee pudding, chocolate frogs, exploding bonbons, and pots de crème.

Le Bistrot Chez Rémy

You'd think a restaurant associated with a type of vermin — even an animated one — would be a non-starter, but France's "Ratatouille"-themed restaurant proves that theory wrong. Based on the hit Pixar movie about a rodent, Rémy, who longs to be taken seriously as a professional chef, Le Bistrot Chez Rémy opened in 2014 as part of Disneyland Paris' "Le Monde de Rémy," (translated: World of Rémy) that recreated the entire Parisian neighborhood depicted in the film (via Cooking Channel). The amusement park eatery attracted no less than one of France's most esteemed chefs, Paul Bocuse, as one of its partners.

According to the Disneyland Paris website, the restaurant promises a "rat's eye view," meaning certain features — like the giant cocktail umbrellas that adorn each table and the massive cutlery used as decor — are much larger than normal. We have to admit it's a cute touch. The menu is French fare that's not dumbed down for kids. Entrées include duck, beef, and sea bass dishes. And, yes, there is ratatouille — it's served on the side if you order the steak. For grownups, there's also a pretty elegant wine list. One diner raved on TripAdvisor about their rabbit and escargot, calling the destination a "must stop," and the food "delicious."

The Star Wars-themed restaurants in Galaxy's Edge

To keep the force strong with them, visitors at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge in Disneyworld and Disneyland require plenty of fuel. Both locations feature five eateries for sit-down and on-the-go meals (via Ziggy Knows Disney). In case you weren't familiar, Galaxy's Edge is its own encapsulated, multi-acre, themed destination within the two parks. It's dedicated to meticulously recreating the universe George Lucas dreamt up, promising ticket-holders the ultimate immersive experience, where, according to the website, they can literally "live out" their own "Star Wars" fantasies.

Nothing breaks character here, not even the food. An official Disney blog says that the menus feature imagined specialties from specific "Star Wars" regions. A restaurant located on the fictional planet Batuu, for example, serves dishes that reflect its farming culture as portrayed in the movies. Colorful cocktails at Oga's Cantina also look just like those on the big screen. The food at Docking Bay 7, where ships shuttle in and out on their way to adventures in space, is cleverly packed in to-go bags for busy intergalactic travelers. Luke Skywalker's beverage of choice, Blue Milk, is also available at several snack stands. According to USA Today, it actually tastes less like real milk and closer to a milkshake tinged with blueberry.

Giger Bar

The most infamous scene in the 1979 sci-fi horror movie "Alien" features a terrifying, slime-ridden space monster ripping through someone's chest cavity (via The Guardian). Did that whet your palate? H.R. Giger, the Swiss artist behind the film's visual direction — including the depiction of the horrifying alien creatures themselves — opened a bar in keeping with the film's spectacularly ominous motif. It's located within the Giger museum, a local attraction dedicated entirely to the artist's work. According to Gothamist, there was also a Giger-themed VIP lounge in the New York City nightclub Limelight until the club was shut down in 2002.

Everything about the interior of the Giger bar — including the scaly ceilings, walls, floors, and furniture — evokes the creepy space horror movie. Its website boasts that visitors will feel "literally in the belly of a fossilized, prehistoric beast, or that you have been transported into the remains of a mutated future civilization." Those who have dropped in seem to agree this place is less about the food and drinks and more about the grotesque, unmistakably Giger-esque ambiance. "Unmissable," one traveler wrote on TripAdvisor. Another agreed, adding it felt like "some sort of alien spaceship."

Pandorica

"Dr. Who" was the name of the 1960s television show about an extraterrestrial hero with time-traveling capabilities. It returned as a series in 2005, and the character also inspired two "Dr. Who" movies (via CBR). In the New York town of Beacon, there is currently one Dr. Who-themed restaurant. It's named Pandorica, after the mythical prison from which Dr. Who must manage to escape. Described as a "special and safe haven for Whovians" by Only In Your State, the one-of-a-kind eatery is steeped in fan culture.

Many dishes on the menu are named for specific characters or insider references, like the "Where's Laszlo" pork, the "Slitheen" vegan chili, and the "Geronimo" chicken sandwich. And of course, Dr. Who's favorite meal, fish fingers and custard, is a menu staple. The decor, right down to the Police Box Blue tablecloths, incorporates design elements from the Who-niverse. Former cast members have been known to stop by for friendly chats with diners and fans. "Fantastic," Peter Capaldi, one of the many actors to play the good doctor, exclaimed when told about Pandorica by Grub Street. "That's brilliant. Wow. That's amazing. That's great to know about. Good stuff. We must get there at some point!"

Beetle House

If you're a fan of Tim Burton movies like "Beetlejuice," "The Nightmare Before Christmas," "Edward Scissorhands," "Alice in Wonderland," and "Sweeney Todd," have we got the place for you. New York City's Beetle House is a restaurant where Burton's films are the muse. Describing itself as a "kind of like an adult Halloween party with a Burtonesque-feel," Beetle House was created in 2016 as a pop-up but turned into a permanent venue thanks to three years of demand. The interior is a Burton-esque fantasyland, with the director's signature swirly designs and creepy characters bedecking nearly every inch. It's an intimate location that seats only 45 people. If you're imagining a real-life version of "Beetlejuice's" bizarre dinner party scene, you're on the right track.

So what's for dinner? A "Beetle's juice" cocktail to start, of course, which The Verge says tastes "like a 7-Eleven Slurpee with tequila in it." It can wash down a selection of dishes with clever names like Sweeney Beef, Edward Bugerhands, or Cheshire Mac and Cheese. Many dishes can also be served vegetarian-style. On your way out, there's plenty of merchandise for sale to commemorate your visit. And while the New York City location remains small, according to Beetle House's website, a second Los Angeles outpost opened that can accommodate up to 500 guests.

Cafe Jack

In terms of die-hard fandom, this "Titanic"-themed restaurant is by far our favorite pick. It was dreamed up by Los Angeles psychic Jack Shin, who loved the 1998 Best Picture winner so much, he reportedly changed his name and his son's name to Jack (yes, you read that correctly), the role embodied by a young Leonardo DiCaprio. According to Vice, he also opened a restaurant housed in a giant ship-like structure that resembled the Titanic. Photos from the movie hang on the walls while guests have the option of dining in their own private cabins. Shin, the head of the ship, works the room, offering tarot card readings.

You still with us? The menu is hardly the kind of fine dining depicted in the film (via California Curiosities). In fact, when it comes to the food, all rules seem to go out the window: Everything from sushi to barbecue to spaghetti is offered. But it's hard to hate on such sincerity. Shin told LA Weekly he's watched the movie "hundreds of times," and simply loves it for the story. The cafe is "my home, my dream, where every day can be happy." Maybe he skips the end when the boat ends up sinking?

Los Pollos Hermanos

During a 2015 Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) with "Breaking Bad's" creator, Vince Gilligan, one fan inquired if he'd consider opening a real-life Los Pollos Hermanos. If you're unfamiliar with the show, Los Pollos Hermanos is a fictional chain of fast-food restaurants that fronts a methamphetamine ring. Gilligan surprised everyone by answering it was actually already in the works. There had already been a series of pop-ups in 2017, which had a limited run (via Eater). In 2019, timed to coincide with the release of the movie "El Camino," Sony Pictures partnered with Uber Eats to offer delivery-only service of an El Pollos Hermanos menu to select Los Angeles locations, with plans to open in other major cities as well.

The menu featured tenders, fries, coleslaw, and a hot chicken sandwich, which Gilligan himself heaped with praise, saying to The Hollywood Reporter that it was "crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside, and it rests on one of the better brioche buns I've come across. It doesn't skimp on the spices, either." Lucky "Breaking Bad" devotees who lived within the delivery zones were thrilled to sample the edibles, as it were. One satisfied customer wrote on Yelp, "Everything was pretty good and the packaging is great, too! Appreciated that as a 'Breaking Bad' fan."

V-Ate Diner

Not many films inspire an entire family to quit their day jobs, remortgage their house, and risk everything to build a restaurant from scratch based on a few of their favorite scenes. But that's exactly what happened when "Pulp Fiction" aficionado Neil Burton, his wife, and his in-laws did when they opened V-Ate diner in the British town of Langrick, which looks nearly identical to the '50s-style eatery Jack Rabbit Slim's from the movie. "I've seen the film so many times," Burton told Metro. "It was a real inspiration for us all." His wife added that they spent over $100,000 and "hours and hours of love" replicating the fictional restaurant. The effort paid off: The restaurant's website says that the Langrick location has since closed so they could open an even bigger space in Sutterton that offers takeout as well.

As in the movie, customers are seated in refurbished classic vehicles and can feast just like Uma Thurman and John Travolta's characters, Mia Wallace and Vincent Vega, did on an assortment of burgers, fries, and shakes (although snorting drugs in the bathroom just like Mia is most likely frowned upon). And while the movie came out nearly 30 years ago, adoration for it clearly hasn't waned much. As recently as 2018, Burton attested that there was sometimes up to a two-and-a-half-hour wait to get in. "It felt like such a risk at the time," he said, "but it feels like it's paying off."