What is a "fun" restaurant?
I never quite understand what people mean when they ask for recommendations and want a fun restaurant. Visions of 'Big Bob's Whoppie Emporium and Soda Fountain - Home of All You Can Eat Ice Cream on your Birthday' always come to mind.
I have never been to a truly "fun" restaurant that is good/fine dining. I've been to plenty of good/fine dining where the staff has been wonderful and the food great which made for a good evening but I would never put it in the fun category.
So what do others think? Are the two terms mutually exclusive?
I think the two words fit together. If I go out with some friends or family, we get good service, aren't rushed through out our evening, the servers can/do talk to us laugh, crack jokes, then in my books that becomes a "fun" restaurant. Although it might sound like it was just a "fun" night, I think that a fun night makes a restaurant fun.
Well, I think of Churrascarias as "fun". And they are even "all you eats" to boot. Typically the cold buffet is of a higher quality and the "fun" of having your meat carved in front of you is kinda neat. I would not call them SUPER high-end, but certainly better than a typical chain.
There is a restaurant named the Magic Time Machine here in Texas (I think Dallas & San Antonio) where the servers are dressed like different characters, such as King Henry, Olive Oyl, etc. and the rooms are themed with unusual decorations and seating. A large group of us from a Sunday School teachers convention went and sat in a tree, kind of like what you would find at a theme park. It was fun! The staff was delightful, and I think you even have to audition before you can work there, because you entertain and serve. We ordered a "Roman Orgy" which was chunks of beef, potatoes, and I don't remember what all else, but they would come to the table with grapes and dangle them over your head and make you take a stab at eating them. They really teased us a lot, as SS teachers "having" a roman orgy! My friend and I mistakenly asked where the restroom was, not realizing that there would be a congo line of people banging on pots and blowing horns to escort us to the"potty." We were embarrassed but it was fun!
In the Texas Board people have really bashed this place, but we enjoyed it, and even took our daughters there a couple years later, where they had a ball, too. And we liked the food!
I think "fun" restaurant often implies either something uniquely fun about the servers/service or the opportunity to interact more with your food. For example, a hibachi steak house is more "fun" for people because they are forced to sit with strangers and interact with them, which is unique, and they are "entertained" with how the meal is prepared. A fondue restaurant is "fun" because you interact with the food differently and share it communally, "cooking" and dipping your own food as you go. Johnny Rockets might be considered "fun" to some people because every 20 minutes or so the servers do a choreographed disco dance to a song that comes on the PA. It could even be as simple as something gimmicky, like a steakhouse serving peanuts in a bucket and playing country music.
This may be too simple of an answer, but I consider a "fun" restaurant anywhere that I can truly enjoy & just be myself!