Half the fun of going out to eat is in the restaurant’s atmosphere. If it weren’t for the promise of fun ambiance, we’d just stay in and order pizza every night. Sometimes, you might be in the mood to dine in extraordinarily bizarre surroundings– here are some ideas for when that urge strikes.
1. Pod, Philadelphia
Pod serves delicious sushi and Asian fusion cuisine, but it's all about the atmosphere. When you enter, you'll think you're onboard a dance club space ship; the white interior is illuminated by multi-colored flourescent lights. If you sit inside one of the "pods," for which the restaurant received its name, you can change the color of the lights by pushing buttons on the wall.
2. Del Frisco's, Philadelphia
For a truly extravagant dining experience, try out Del Frisco's, which can be found in what used to be First Pennsylvania Bank. The historic landmark has been converted into a classy steak house with a three-story wine tower (good luck making up your mind) and lavish interior design. Book ahead if you want to dine in the Vault Room, which is where the bank's vault used to be. You will truly feel like a treasured customer.
3. The Catacombs Restaurant, Lancaster
This restaurant is several stories below the surface of the street. As you can tell, this experience is about as unique as it comes.
4. Victor Cafe, Philadelphia
If you're a music lover, Victor Cafe is the place for you. A cozy Italian restaurant in South Philly, Victor distinguishes itself by its dedication to opera. The waitstaff breaks into song four to five times per hour, entertaining guests with arias and various tunes. You might have a hard time preventing yourself from joining in.
5. Conflict Kitchen, Pittsburgh
Right in the middle of Pittsburgh sits Conflict Kitchen, the most scrumptiously socially aware restaurant around. Conflict Kitchen only serves food from countries with which the United States is in conflict, rotating their country of choice every few months. While preparing and serving the food (often the only iteration of that ethnic cuisine in the city), Conflict Kitchen also works to foster discussion and learning about world events and different cultures.
6. Church Brew Works, Pittsburgh
For another restaurant that allows you to dine in a bizarrely unusual environment, check out the Church Brew Works, which is exactly what it sounds like: a brewery inside an old, deconsecrated Catholic Church. Some of their beers live up to the building's religious legacy, including Pipe Organ Pale Ale and Pious Monk Donkel. The Church Brew Works website beckons, "And on the eighth day... man created beer..."
7. Joe's Bar, Ligonier
Pennsylvania has more licensed hunters than any other state in the U.S., a statistic that you will not doubt after you've visited Joe's Bar. Otherwise a run-of-the-mill roadside bar, it has hundreds upon hundreds of taxidermy animals that adorn the bar area as well as multiple rooms upstairs. No doubt, your burger might suddenly seem to have some extra... character.
8. Shiloh Grill, Pittsburgh
Aside from mouthwatering food, we have two good reasons for you to go check out Shiloh Grill on Mount Washington in Pittsburgh. First, check out that stunning view! Second, the building is allegedly haunted by the ghost of Mrs. Soffel, who did jail time after assisting bank robbers Ed and Joe Biddle in an escape attempt. After her release from prison, Mrs. Soffel lived in the house where Shiloh Grill now does business; diners at the restaurant have witnessed her ghost appearing throughout the establishment.
9. Red Caboose Restaurant, Ronks
Red Caboose Restaurant is part of the Red Caboose Motel, which is located inside a string of forty refurbished train cars. The restaurant is found inside an 80-ton coach car, where fresh, homemade Amish cuisine is served to the sound of railroad music that pipes through the speakers. Children especially will find this to be a fun and memorable dining experience.
10. Cooper's Seafood House, Scranton
We don't know anyone who at some point hasn't wanted to be a pirate. Especially after dealing with another brutal Pennsylvania winter, we can't think of anywhere we'd rather be than stomping around on the deck of a pirate ship in the Carribean. Cooper's offers just that feeling, but in the middle of Scranton. Made to look and feel like a life-size pirate ship, the restaurant offers a giant beer selection, scrumptuous fare, and a nautical ambiance, not to mention it has been made famous by way of mention on "The Office" more than once.
Going to some of these places would be fun, even if they weren’t restaurants. What is the most memorable dining experience that you’ve had in Pennsylvania?