“I am probably the only restaurateur in the entire world who is unapologetically telling you that my food is bad for you, and that you should stay away from it,” Heart Attack Grill’s Jon Basso recently said after one of his regulars suffered (you guessed it) a massive heart attack on his post-meal bus ride home.
With waitresses dressed as sexy nurses and a Guinness World Record for “Most Calorific Burger,” this Las Vegas attraction is surely an only-in-America experience. But in a country that birthed the bloomin’ onion, it’s not the only weird eatery America has to offer. Strange restaurants abound from coast to coast, from a toilet-themed café in the suburbs of Los Angeles to ninja villages in New York City and an actual cave in the Midwest.
“Part of the appeal of a themed or a weird restaurant is that it may not live or die based on how good the food is,” explains Doug Kirby, author of Roadside America, a byway bible to America’s strangest pit stops. “I hear a lot of locals say they would never go to the nearby weird restaurant, but they’d totally take whoever was visiting from out of town.”
On your next trip, here’s where to let your foodie freak flag fly.