12 Bizarre Restaurants In The US

Tired of eating at the same old places? There's nothing wrong with being a regular at your favorite restaurants, but at the same time, life is more exciting when you open yourself up to new experiences. According to behavioral therapist Andrea Kuszewski, seeking novelty sparks the release of dopamine in your brain, which creates new neurons and primes the brain for learning (via Scientific American). 

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that floods your body with a rewarding sense of pleasure, focus, and happiness (via Healthline). As it turns out, it gets released in a variety of contexts and it also assists a wide range of processes in the body, including digestion, blood flow, and heart function. The bottom line? Eating a good meal in a new atmosphere has the potential to do more than just fill your belly — it can also improve your mood and your health.

So, if you want to feel happier and keep your daily routine interesting, don't let your dining habits become too predictable. Step outside of your comfort zone and take a walk on the wild side by planning a special trip to taste new food somewhere you've never been before. If you're unsure of where to start, we've collected a list of wonderfully weird restaurants in the U.S. that have something special to offer their diners.

1. Blackout

As many chefs say, you eat with your eyes first. According to a 2012 study published in Physiology & Behavior, there's a lot of truth to that statement, since our associations with visual cues play a big role in shaping our expectations. So, what happens when you lose the ability to see what you're eating, and how does it affect your taste and the overall dining experience? Blackout is a restaurant in Las Vegas that's determined to help you discover the answers to these questions.

With a concept centered on taking diners through a "unique sensory journey," Blackout serves a seven-course meal in a pitch-black dining room. Objects like cell phones, watches, and cameras are locked away to ensure a total absence of light. Staff equipped with night vision goggles roam the room to assist diners throughout the process. The idea is that because your vision is impaired, your other senses become heightened and more attuned, which in turn enhances the taste, smell, and touch of food. 

While the notion of eating in complete darkness may seem a bit strange to some diners, there's no doubt that Blackout offers a truly unique experience that will awaken your taste buds and give you a renewed sense of gratitude for the gift of vision.

2. Harvey Washbangers

Doing laundry isn't exactly the most thrilling experience — but Harvey Washbangers is working on changing that. Located in College Station, Texas, Harvey Washbangers is a restaurant that's also a full-fledged laundromat. After loading up their clothes in state-of-the-art washers and dryers, customers can head over to the dining room to check out the surprisingly eclectic menu.

A highlight of the appetizer menu includes the Porkaholic cheese fries, which come with applewood smoked pork, crispy bacon, melted cheddar cheese, pickled jalapeños, and barbecue sauce over freshly-cut fries. Chicken wings, homemade chili, fresh salads, burgers, sandwiches, and hot dogs are some of the other popular dishes on the menu. If you're in the mood for something sweet, then you happen to be in luck, considering that the restaurant also serves hand-spun milkshakes and floats. And if you're looking to get a little buzz from some suds, then Harvey Washbangers has you covered too, with an extensive rotating lineup of local craft beer. 

One thing's for sure — after a couple of beers and some tasty grub, you're pretty much guaranteed to have way more fun doing your laundry at Harvey Washbangers than you will anywhere else.

3. Dick's Last Resort

Most restaurants will bend over backward to make you feel welcome, but Dick's Last Resort isn't one of them. The small chain of restaurants is built on a bizarre premise where servers are actively encouraged to disrespect diners. Personalized insults are scrawled in permanent ink on flimsy paper bags that diners wear like humiliating hats. Dick's Last Resort's mission is to upend your expectations of traditional ethics, as servers relish in your public degradation through constant mockery, sarcasm, and a menu riddled with crass sexual innuendos.

Strange and raunchy as it sounds, it's all in good fun. The whole point of the experience at Dick's Last Resort is to loosen up, be a bit more self-deprecating, and enjoy laughing at the expense of others for the sake of comedy. And even though this spot might feel more like a dirty joke than a restaurant at times, the food is still seriously solid. Country fried steak with jalapeño gravy, Nashville hot chicken, and boozy milkshakes are just a few popular choices on the menu. Obscene and silly, Dick's Last Resort is a great choice for those with thick skin and an appetite for some good-natured obnoxiousness.

4. Betty Danger's

Betty Danger's is the kind of place where you can drink booze on a Ferris wheel. And no, that's not an exaggeration — the restaurant literally has its own Ferris wheel on the patio, and drinking is allowed in the passenger seats. Billing itself as a dystopian "interpretation of an Animal Farm in 1984," Betty Danger's feels like a vibrantly colored art installation by Banksy that also happens to serve food.

The menu at this Minneapolis restaurant makes plenty of satirical allusions to its literary and pop culture influences, with drink names like Anarchy Cherry Bomb, The Fruity Fascist, The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, The Capitalist, and Helpful Propaganda. The food menu is strewn with equally edgy names and offers a wide range of dishes including a hash with pulled pork carnitas, french dip with horseradish mayo, and wagyu beef cheeseburgers. 

All in all, Betty Danger's is like an amusement park for adults that's definitely worth a visit. Did we mention there's even a little mini-golf course on the patio to play some putt-putt and ponder all the charming absurdities around you?

5. Odditorium

Right off the bat, The Odditorium's name hints at what you're in store for. Wearing weirdness like a badge of honor, The Odditorium is well-known among Asheville locals for its eclectic live music, dance parties, poetry readings, and unusual performances. Colorful drinks grace the menu with memorable names like The Blood of my Enemies, which comes served in a skull with bourbon and cherries (via Smoky Mountains). If bourbon's not your jam, The Odditorium has plenty of other specialty cocktails up its sleeve like Radioactive Unicorn Tears, which features rum, coconut, whipped cream, and Lucky Charms marshmallows. 

When it comes to food, The Odditorium offers classic, comforting fare like grilled cheese, Philly cheesesteaks, chicken sandwiches, and cheeseburgers. For brunch, expect time-honored favorites like biscuits and gravy, breakfast burritos, and pancakes. Joyfully weird, inventive, and defiantly unconventional, The Odditorium isn't just a place to score a solid meal — it's a place to proudly celebrate and observe the most freakish of impulses.

6. Tonga Room

Open since 1945, Tonga Room is a legendary tiki-themed bar and restaurant at San Francisco's Fairmont Hotel, envisioned and brought to life by a Hollywood set designer. At the center of the dining room, a live band plays popular hits from a thatch-covered barge floating in the middle of an indoor pool. Dining room tables sit under grass-covered huts around the perimeter of the restaurant while thunderstorms randomly erupt and shower down from above. The cinematic setting creates a genuine feeling of excitement and magic in the air that's just about guaranteed to leave you enchanted.

The food menu leans into the restaurant's tropical motif with South Pacific-inspired dishes like homemade Spam with passion fruit mustard, ahi tuna poke tostadas, grilled miso salmon, and fried vegetable spring rolls. There are also a handful of stir-fried dishes from the wok, including spicy chicken basil, coconut curry seafood, rice noodles with tofu, and beef broccoli with Maui onions. 

The sophisticated and delicious menu paired with an unrivaled atmosphere complete with special effects to mimic a hurricane, undoubtedly makes Tonga Room one of the coolest and most unusual restaurants in the country.

7. Uncle Buck's Fish Bowl

Uncle Buck's Fish Bowl is the pizza-worshipping love child of an aquarium and a bowling alley. With locations in Florida, Texas, Illinois, Iowa, and Connecticut, it's highly likely that this small restaurant chain is one of the most unusual places you'll go to toss a bowling ball. Replicas of marine creatures hang overhead by the hundreds, creating the feeling of being submerged under the sea. Bowling balls emerge from the open jaws of a shark and the dining room is situated under the shadow of a sunken ship. Even cooler? Each of the bowling lanes has motion lighting to mimic the reflective patterns on the surface of the ocean (via Only In Your State). With so much attention to detail in the decor, Uncle Buck's Fish Bowl is definitely an aquatic feast for the eyes — and it offers an equally impressive feast for your belly.

The menu at Uncle Buck's goes above and beyond what you'd normally find at a bowling alley. Fish and chips with beer battered cod, loaded queso, and western beef sliders with bacon, fried onion straws, and barbecue sauce are just a few of the snacks you can order. But the centerpiece of the menu here is the pizza, with highlights like the Buffalo chicken pizza with bacon, blue cheese crumbles, onions, and ranch dressing. With plenty of specialty cocktails and beers to choose from, Uncle Buck's Fish Bowl is truly a one-of-a-kind experience that's sure to please all ages.

8. Hillbilly Hotdog's

Hillbilly Hot Dogs has been in business for over twenty years in West Virginia and it's easy to see why. With a couple dozen gourmet hot dogs on the menu and an old-fashioned, country aesthetic that gives it an undeniable Southern charm, this spot is a winner. Between all the weathered wood, random animal skulls, and kitschy, hand-painted signs, there's a good chance you've never been anywhere quite like Hillbilly Hot Dogs.

For starters, it has an official wedding chapel on the property that looks more like a wooden shack cobbled together from broken branches. So, if you happen to be in love and you also have an affinity for dilapidated cabins and grilled logs of processed meat, then Hillbilly Hot Dogs is your Graceland. Old school buses have been converted into dining rooms and there's even a 15-inch 1-pound hot dog on the menu called the homewrecker. With jalapeños, nacho cheese, chili sauce, habaneros, peppers, onions, shredded cheese, and mustard, this is probably one of the biggest loaded dogs you've ever seen. A lot of the other hot dogs on the menu are surprisingly inventive, like the Pine-Appalachian dog with shredded cheese, barbecue sauce, country ham, and crushed pineapple. 

At the end of the day, Hillbilly Hot Dogs uses its unique concept and design to produce an authentically rustic feel that's hard to find in today's world.

9. Heart Attack Grill

The name says it all: Heart Attack Grill is a restaurant in downtown Las Vegas where diners are referred to as patients and given a hospital gown to wear, servers dress like nurses and doctors, and if you don't finish your food you are publicly spanked with a wooden paddle by your server (via 1 Oak Las Vegas). Wine is served in IV bags and — true to form — patrons have had to ride an ambulance to the nearest hospital after suffering actual heart attacks in the dining room (via Heart Attack Grill). The restaurant also has a scale on-site and offers free food with the purchase of a drink to anyone who weighs over 350 pounds. As you can imagine, the establishment has endured a fair share of controversy.

The menu has a lot to offer, but Heart Attack Grill's real claim to fame is its burgers. Offering up to eight burger patties with seemingly endless slices of bacon, the size is freakishly huge to the point of absurdity. It's hard to imagine the number of calories that an eight-patty bacon cheeseburger adds up to, but we're sure it ain't pretty. There's a reason the restaurant only takes cash, as evidenced by the sign on the door ominously warning diners that they "may die before the check clears."

10. SafeHouse

SafeHouse is a spy-themed restaurant in Milwaukee where you can live out your wildest secret agent fantasies. In order to get inside, visitors first need to find the entrance, discreetly labeled under the glow of a lantern on a brick wall as International Exports. Before diners can enter the building, they need to share a secret password or undergo a clearance test at the door to ensure they aren't a double agent.

The restaurant boasts its "authentic espionage artifacts" throughout the building, including a machine gun allegedly donated by John Wayne, a piece of the Berlin Wall, and a "spy guitar" supposedly taken from none other than Austin Powers himself. The menu at SafeHouse leans towards classic American fare, with slow-cooked barbecue pork ribs, beer-battered cod, cheeseburgers, sandwiches, and salads. One of the favorites is the shaved prime rib sandwich on ciabatta, which comes with jus and horseradish and can even be turned into a Philly cheesesteak upon request. The loaded macaroni and cheese with chicken, bacon, chipotle peppers, and broccoli is another grand slam of flavor. 

Between the carefully-crafted atmosphere of secrecy and the killer food on the menu, SafeHouse is a fun place to hide out from the world for a little while.

11. The Bubble Room

Joyously painted in pastel colors, The Bubble Room is decorated with vintage toys from the early 20th century, bubble lights, moving miniature trains, year-round Christmas decor, and an antique diving suit. Since opening in 1979 on Florida's Captiva Island, The Bubble Room has grown famous over the years for its eccentric decor, fresh seafood, and oversized desserts -– all made fresh on a daily basis.

While the decor may seem a little weird, there's nothing strange about the top-notch food that the kitchen pumps out. Some of the heavy hitters on the dessert menu include the Jamaican rum cake with a chocolate mousse center, an authentic key lime pie, and the restaurant's legendary orange crunch cake. As expected from a restaurant on an island, the menu also offers a lot of seafood, with dishes like crab cakes with lobster sauce, stuffed grouper, seared Mahi, and fisherman's stew. There's also filet mignon, roasted duck, prime rib, and a wide range of other delicious dishes to choose from. 

There's no better place than The Bubble Room to behold Florida's tropical eccentricities and grab a fresh meal.

12. Medieval Times

Medieval Times launched in Spain before opening up its first North American location in Florida in 1983. Since then, it's expanded to eight other states and even has a location in Canada. With a concept based on authentic medieval history, Medieval Times mixes dinner and entertainment in a way that's truly unique.

As diners feast on a four-course meal, they watch a tournament of knights battling, jousting, and engaging in hand-to-hand combat while on horseback. Based on the true story of a noble family, Medieval Times does a great job of creating an atmosphere of excitement that's undeniably fun. Looking around at the ornate costumes and medieval decor, it's easy to feel like you've stepped back in time. 

As for the food, the four-course meal includes garlic bread, tomato bisque soup, roasted chicken, sweet buttered corn, and herbed potatoes. Between the wild clashes on horseback in the middle of the arena and the cheering crowd, there's no doubt that Medieval Times has carved out an exceptional niche for itself in the dining scene.