Family-Style Restaurants That Appear Only in Dreams

by Gabrielle Moss

Eerie Mists & Weird, Uneven Shadows Baking Co.

Enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet of classic Southern grub, like pulled pork and mac & cheese, at this abandoned, mist-filled parking structure, whose walls are covered with undulating shadows even though you are there all alone. At night, the spot turns into a funky after-hours cabaret, with white leather banquettes and top-shelf cocktails. You are still the only person there, but you can faintly hear the sound of your best friend from middle school singing “Edelweiss,” off in the distance. Do not, under any circumstances, follow the sound of her voice. Tuesdays are two-for-one margarita night!

Café Forgot to Finish Tenth Grade

Kick back with a bottomless cup of our signature blend coffee as you realize, with mounting panic, that you forgot to file some kind of important paperwork back in 1999, and as a result, you now have to re-take the tenth grade. And don’t forget to pick up some of our authentic French pastries on your way out! You’ll need them to barter with the high school bullies who keep writing ‘GRANDMA DUMBASS’ on your locker in Sharpie.

Ashlee Simpson’s “Pizzas of Me” Italian Trattoria

Take a bite out of the early 2000s at this elegant eatery, where former reality TV sweetheart Simpson prepares a menu of unique, fresh takes on Tuscan cuisine. She’s even developed some vegan options that are as scrumptious as they are healthy! But if she tries to offer you a complimentary platter of shrimp cocktail, don’t accept it — the dipping sauce is made from all your most horrible unspoken thoughts about your sister and her home jewelry-making business, and is also absolutely lousy with gluten.

Ye Olde Gruel Shoppe

At the forefront of the locally sourced, artisanal food revolution, Ye Olde Gruel Shoppe offers a staggeringly comprehensive menu of single-origin gruels, mushes, and custards — perfect for those who’ve recently had all their teeth just suddenly, painlessly fall out of their mouth, right in the middle of a conversation, and no one even said anything, everyone just acted like it was completely normal.

Your Childhood Home

Your childhood home has been turned into the city’s most authentic 50’s-style diner, complete with a tempting menu full of retro treats like grilled cheeseburgers and hand-dipped milkshakes. What happened to all of your possessions? Where is your family? Never mind any of that — did we tell you that the waiters sing and dance to songs from the 50s? It’s really cool.

House of Hoobastanks

Finally find out what a hoobastank is at this Michelin-starred brasserie, which specializes in locally caught and traditionally prepared hoobastanks — dressed in your choice of panko breadcrumbs, beurre blanc, or a Surge-based reduction sauce.

Gabrielle Moss mostly dreams about pizza. You can follow her on Twitter @gaby_moss.

Photo via Cher Amio/Flickr