Strange, strange things are happening in the food world, people: last week, Magic Restroom Cafe, a bathroom-themed restaurant in L.A., opened its doors to Taiwanese food fans, unveiling a branding schtick that's brought on lots of
public scrutiny poop jokes and queasy feelings. Inside: a dining space coated in tiny restroom tiles, wherein diners sit on toilets, menu items like "black poop" (a chocolate sundae) and "constipation" (zha jiang mian) arrive in porcelain latrines, and shower heads came out of the walls. What's even stranger is that this is actually a bonafide trend elsewhere on the globe; restaurateurs in Taiwan and China have been banking on this very same shock factor for a couple of years now. Don't believe it? Have a close look at three such places (including more on America's first bathroom-dining establishment), below.
? Right upon entering the Magic Restroom Cafe in L.A.'s City of Industry, diners get a good look at a row of toilets and urinals dotting the lobby walls—and that's just the beginning. Diners squat on commodes to eat their curry and "golden poop" rice. Chandeliers look like dripping water and fogged glass panels partition the dining area from the actual restrooms—which, disappointedly, are "relatively tame." Perhaps the best thing to come out of the opening of America's first bathroom restaurant? Well, the Eater LA commenters have become really creative with their totally mature and not-at-all-fourth-grade outrage: "What a dump!" "What? No Stools ?" "You have to be shitting me."
? Bog Roll, in Taiyuan, the capital of China's Shanxi Province, also boasts toilets for seating, though these bad boys brag some primo velveteen poop pillows. Tables are jack-and-jill sinks covered in glass and toilet paper rolls hang as convenient (?) clean-up dispensers. As far as food design goes, soft serve ice cream comes in tiny toilets "where the plumbing at the back forms a dainty handle for diners to hold their end-of-meal digestif," or so writes the UK's Daily Mail. It's not China's only bathroom-themed dining experience; there's similar establishments in Chonqing, Shanghai, Kunming, and Hangzhou. The Beijing outpost is called Pian Pian Man Wu, or "House Full of Poo."
? Taiwan is debatably the capital of restroom restaurants, with its Modern Toilet chain cropping up throughout the region. Here, as Rocket News 24 hilariously reports, restaurateurs offer "a variety of poo-themed delights served in toilet-shaped dishes to emulate that exhilarating feeling of eating feces straight from the bowl." Modern Toilet, friends, is not messing around. The Taipei outpost boasts 2,800 square feet over three stories, plus a giant toilet—"a mighty sight indeed!" Rocket News 24 writes—on the building's façade. Inside: feces-shaped overhead lighting, bathtub dining tables, pasta served in commode lids, drinks served in tiny urinals, and swirled soft serve ice cream in squat toilets. Ah, but the IRL bathroom? "I was slightly disappointed to find it was just your standard squat toilet, though I'm not sure what I was expecting," Rocket News 24 writes. "It did make me hungry for more soft-serve though."
· Outrageously Themed Magic Restroom Cafe Soft Opens, Serving "Golden Poop" Rice [Eater LA]
· New toilet-themed restaurant where diners eat out of bidets opens in China [Daily Mail via Eater National]
· Modern Toilet Restaurant: From Bowel To Your Bowl [Rocket News 24 via Eater National]