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What would your "dream" restaurant feature?

Fantasy time here....learning that there's a place in NYC that serves just macaroni and cheese, with various add-in options (and a salad and dessert or two) got me to daydreaming about appealing restaurant concepts.

I have two. One would be International House of Dumplings....shu mai, manti, momo, pierogi, ravioli, et al. Preferably north of Boston. What's not to love?

Second is An Apple a Day, in which virtually every dish would contain apple in some form. And if a mac&cheese place could open next door....

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  1. The mac&cheese place sounds perfect! I am dreaming up what I would order there.....yummm. Because they already have stores dedicated to just ice cream it was hard for me to think of anything else.

    But then I came up with one............Potato Palace. They would have baked, mashed, scalloped, roasted red, oven fries,twice baked,ect. I have yet to meet a potato that I didn't like They would also have a topping bar where you can customize your potato with anything you would want.

    2 Replies
    1. re: phimoez

      Meet you there opening day! Too bad that Spuds, in Woburn, doesn't live up to its name... FWIW, the NYC restaurant: www.smacnyc.com - don't look at it on an empty stomach ;-D

      1. re: phimoez

        perfect. emme can work with you on setting up a hash station!

      2. Ohh a place devoted to Nachos Grande of all types and cuisines! Traditional, Italiano with pasta chips, mozz, asiago, roasted pepps etc, Pizza Nachos, Breakfast nachos with bagel chips smothered in eggs, bacon, swiss and hollandaise! Oh boy the options are endless..

        1. Mmmmm, International House of Dumplings--I'm so there.

          I'd love an all-pork-all-the-time restaurant: pork ribs, pork belly, ham, bacon, pork dumplings, pork empanadas, trotters, sausages, pork chops, pork loin, carnitas, chicharrón, scrapple, pulled pork, prosciutto...And breads/pies made with lard, veg fried in bacon fat, rich pork broth, stews made with ham hocks. What would REALLY make it a dream is if there were absolutely no adverse health reactions!

          11 Replies
          1. re: Non Cognomina

            An ice cream parlor that has a bar.

            There used to be a place in Westchester called Jahn's, and served something called the kitchen sink. I've seen similar places on the FN, when I used to watch it, about places in other parts of the country that have great big wonderful oversized sundaes. Sadly, Westchester is into other things and ice cream ain't one of them. Sadly, too, I was too young to fully appreciate the Jahn's ice cream parlor and it has since joined the other really good places that are extinct.

            1. re: dolores

              Hey Dolores, I grew up on Long Island - we had Jahn's there, too! Nobody I knew ever ordered the kitchen sink - the menu pictured a big bowl with a scoop of every flavor they had, which I recall being maybe 20 or so - but I often think of it when I see the obscenely large cones served at the ice cream stands in suburban Boston. Jahns, HoJo, Baskin Robbins...at all of them, a standard cone meant one scoop and now even a kiddie cone is two. The good old days were better for us in that respect!

              1. re: greygarious

                HoJo's, I forgot about them, greygarious.

                Yes, in terms of watching one's weight, you're right about that.

                1. re: greygarious

                  I remember Jahns. Across from the Lord and Taylor in Scarsdale, right?

                  1. re: greygarious

                    We had a couple of Jahn's in Brooklyn too. There was also one on Metropolitan Ave in Queens. I knew a guy in HS who actually finished the kitchen sink by himself. It was kind of like watching a gory accident. They didn't call him "Big Mike" for nothing...

                    We do have one old fashioned remnant from the 50's. Hinsch they make their own ice cream too.. It's in Bay Ridge off of 86th St. I also go to a quaint little place up in Port Jervis called the Road Side Creamery. They're only open March through October though.

                    1. re: greygarious

                      The Kitchen Sink was often ordered when a large group of HS kids were out together. It was really more experience than flavor, because of all the random scoops, but it was good enough. I remember ordering it several times at the Jahn's that used to be off Fordham Road.

                    2. re: dolores

                      There used to be a Jahn's in Union NJ too. Never knew it was a chain. The kitchen sink was high school bonding ( with the Balentine Chugga Mug afterward.).

                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                        Yeah, jfood and buddies were there almost every saturday night around 10 in 72-74.

                        And yes the kitchen sink was once consumed. 20+ scoops, plus every topping imaginable and then whipped topping. At the end the birthday boy picked it up and wore more that he drank. Noone really enjoyed all the toppings mixed together.

                        It burned down and moved around the corner and lost its panache.

                        1. re: jfood

                          Dumbkeg and friends, Sat. nights in '65. What was that great hot dog place at the five corners?

                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                            Check out the 5th photo down for a walk down memory lane at 5-points.


                            And then Stanley's

                  2. How about a place that makes just homemade chicken and dumplings or a place that makes a few homemade soups served with a plate of great bread and butter.

                    1. In the 70s of cults and fads, I threatened my first wife with starting a new "Bouffantist" movement in which everything puffy is good and all things flattened or slick is bad. Along these lines, I'd have to open "Le Bouffant" and serve soufflés, dishes done in puff pastries, yorkies, popcorn, cotton candy, ... Ladies would have to have bouffant hair-do's and men pompadours to enter. Poodles would be welcome, but no minks. Any customer who could blow up a three meter balloon in a single breath would get a free meal. Puffed - up blowhards would be especially welcome. Shirts and blouses with puffy sleeves only.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                        Blowfish/pufferfish, pooris, popovers, mee krob, marshmallows, baked Alaska....and surely the ladies' dress code includes petticoats!

                        1. re: greygarious

                          Le Carte: Le Bouffant

                          Cocktails: votre choix de acidifie les blancs d'oeuf fouettés (sours incorporating whipped egg whites)

                          Démarreurs: Haricot sautant andin épicé (Spicy Andean popping beans), Potage de boule de souffle (puff ball soup), Fromage soufflé (Gruyere Cheetos)

                          Forces: Votre choix des soufflés (your choice of soufflés), Poissons découpés en tranches crus de décolleur (Fugu sashimi), Additionneur de souffle cuit à la friteuse (Deep fried puff adder), Macareux atlantique bourré et rôti (Stuffed and roasted Atlantic puffin), Saucisse en pâte feuilletée (Pigs in a blanket / in puff pastry)

                          Servi avec votre choix de purée de pommes de terre fouettée (Whipped mashed potato), de poori, ou de nouilles de riz frit instantanées profondes (Mee krob)

                          Desserts: Souffles crèmes (Cream puffs), Rhubarbe tournée par sucre (Rhubarb cotton candy), Meringues.

                          (And, yes, I'm kidding about the translations)

                      2. Funny thread. "Everything Phyllo & Puff Pastry Bistro" - I love this stuff but hardly ever do much with it. I'm intimidated by it. Especially puff pastry. I would love to spend a day just playing with this.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: lexpatti

                          Try TJ's frozen puff pastry - comes 2 squares to a box. You briefly defrost, then roll a little larger. It tastes much better than the butterless Pepperidge Farm version, which always seems to crack when unfolded, regardless of how carefully it's defrosted. I just put on a thin layer of Solo almond filling or mascarpone, top with sliced fruit and/or preserves, and bake. Makes an excellent and quick tart.

                          1. re: greygarious

                            kewl, thanks. a local conv. store does this fantastic salmon puff (almost like a pot pie but salmon) and I want to make it.

                        2. my savory food dream restaurants already exist....however i would love a restaurant that serves delicious desserts along with a huge "by the glass" menu of dessert wines, champagnes and ports. thats it.

                          it would be adorned with big cushy sofas and romantic lighting and possibly live jazz at night

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: missmar79

                            mmm that sounds so sexy and delicious!

                          2. I would have a restaurant called "Best Bib and Tucker." It would only have booths with very high backs and seat backs, with heavy curtains that close so no one can see you while you eat except those at your table. The menu would consist of really messy food. The kind you can't help but get smeared all over your face if you really enjoy it. Barbecue ribs (beef, BIG ones) dripping with barbecue sauce, whole lobster that you break with your bare hands. Crabs too, especially Dungeness. Shell-on shrimp cooked in beer and other seasoned broths that are so messy to eat. Spaghetti, long noodles, slurpy stuff. Southern fried chicken. And everyone would get -- no, not just a bib -- a plastic "jacket" that closes in back that will protect their clothes. And then big big big finger bowls so you can clean up before you open the drapes. If it's really messy to eat, it will be on the menu!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Caroline1

                              Go all the way and deny silverware. Do it like they do at central Texas BBQ places, no forks, spoons, just a plastic knife. How about a porterhouse for two? My wife would love it.

                            2. Fun thread...I would earn a "frequent dumplers" card at your Internaitional House of Dumplings.

                              For me it would be a restuarant called "Noodles". It would have everything pasta. Spaghetti Bologense, ramen, fideo, mac and cheese, homemade spaghettios. The bar menu (yes, there will be a bar) would be called "Bubbles" Any and all things fizzy. Pink Champagne and Shirley Temples would be the house special drinks. Err....make that a Shirley Temple Black...with the addition of vodka. :)

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                Your "Noodles" clone is located in North Madison, CT. For "MacNcheese" they substitute "Penne and 3 cheeses", but unfortunately no spaghettiOs.

                              2. I described my dream restaurant to someone a long time ago. Their reply?:

                                "I think they call them 'Chinese Buffets'"


                                1. As long as the food was wonderful and the wine was outstanding, I don't think I would mind what kind of food was in the resto.

                                  BUT: I have been fantasizing a long time about a resto that had a "big pillow" room in the back, so that when I get all post-prandial and my belly is stuffed beyond belief, I could lie on my side with my big gut supported by a big pillow and take a little nap before I have to head back home. This would a wonderful post-dessert ritual.

                                  1. Not sure if you are asking for a “dream restaurant” that should exist, or one that is a fantasy, and could exist. Also, you make some geographic references, and do not know if the “dream restaurant” needs to fit into these particular areas.

                                    Still, I’ll just take carte blanche and describe my dream restaurant, regardless of the geographic area.

                                    First, my wife would be the exec. chef and she’d blend classic French cuisine with New Orleans/Creole touches. There might be a few tid-bits from the Southwest, as she’s now lived there for 30 years.

                                    The cuisine would be built around “local” (to the geographic area) produce and would also feature as much of these, as would be possible.

                                    The dining area would be subdued, with low ambient lighting, though each table would be bathed by a “task light” on a dimmer. Seating would be comfortable and the area would be semi to formal. The tables would be oversized for lots of wine glasses and a bit of elbow room. They would also be adequately spaced, so that no member of the waitstaff would ever bump a diner at a near-by table.

                                    The wine list would feature wines that all paired well with the cuisine and from as many different areas, as would be appropriate. Many of the “usual suspects” would be absent. Interesting wines, that no one has ever heard of, would be featured, so long as they pair very well. One could get most of the wines in a b-t-g offerings, and besides a deep cellar, it would have a great half-bottle selection. There would be a “sommelier’s pairing” for almost every possible combo of dishes. Pricing would be as low as was possible, to encourage most diners to try wines with each dish.

                                    Dinnerware would be visually innovative, but utilitarian. Same for the flatware - great to look at, but work well in the hand. Stemware would be appropriate for the individual varietals, and would be the same for a b-t-g Cal-Cab, as for a 1er Cru Bdx.

                                    Gentlemen would be urged to wear jackets, and decorum would be strongly suggested at all times. The room would be quiet, by design, so that one could actually hear the conversation at their table. Cell phone usage would be banned. There might even be special insulation to diminish cell phone reception, even with the possible implications of that. A harpist would be common, as would a string quartet, but off to the side, and not interfering with the conversation at any table. Valet parking would be complimentary.

                                    Last, everyone would be treated as THAT special patron.

                                    Is that what you are looking for, or do you wish that we give you an existing restaurant that could be changed in our vision?


                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                      No rules - your call. Obviously, you'll want it conveniently located. I live near Boston, so that mac&cheese place in Greenwich Village does me no good!

                                    2. Endless sushi and sashimi with creme brulee for dessert!


                                      1. i think i would open Breakfast Bar.

                                        this would include various breakfast design-your-own stations...

                                        for instance, a pancake/waffle bar where you get a serving of batter, then pass through the line and add-in whatever components you desire (fruits, granola, spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, etc.), chocolate chips, carob chips, even savories like cheeses, herbs, veggies), then when you get to the end, you pass your concoction to the awaiting couple of chefs who will put your creation into a waffle maker or put onto a griddle, while you wait. then after, you get to go to the topping bar.

                                        the traditional omelet station of course

                                        a "hash" station, which starts with grated potatoes, to which you add your desired add-ins (herbs, veggies, cheeses, etc.), and at the end, the awaiting chefs cook them up on the griddle

                                        the oatmeal in skillet station, where you get oatmeal, then add-ins, served in an oven-safe skillet type bowl, which gets baked at the end of the line

                                        the yogurt and fruit station

                                        1. deviled eggs in 100+ ways

                                          a restaurant where dessert is served before the main course

                                          a make your own / all you can eat dosa establishment where you had a hot griddle in the middle of the table for cooking your dosa as you go so they never lose their crisp before they get into your belly

                                          i'd also love to have a truly dog-friendly restaurant where it's fine to have dogs indoors. i'd have a separate menu for canines (including delicacies like liver peanut butter soufflee) and hot dogs with a wide range of toppings for humans.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: cimui

                                            You mean you'd eat a dog in front of your dog? How traumatizing! You have to come up with a "hot people" treat for the pups to compensate. '-)

                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                              Peanut butter biscuit cut with a gingerbread man cookie cutter, with cream cheese frosting tinted postal blue. Done. ;-D

                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                we could dress up the hot dogs to look like daschunds with little feet and everything.

                                            2. Ours would be a gluten-free, vegan restaurant.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: lgss

                                                what i wouldn't give for a gluten free restaurant!!!

                                                my dream restaurant really was closer to what i think would be fun o offer others...

                                                1. re: Emme

                                                  Have you checked www.glutenfreeregistry.com ? Most listed there are not completely gf but at least they understand the concept and have some items. Ever been to Flying Apron Bakery in Seattle? (They're not completely gf, vegan but offers many options. They made our gf, vegan wedding cake!)

                                                  It would be fun to provide gluten-free vegan food to gluten-free vegans (where they wouldn't have to worry about the ingredients) and to show gluten-eating omnivores that gf, vegan food can be delicious and fun!

                                                  If (when?!) my husband and I open one we certainly wouldn't want gluten-containing items or animal products in it. We walked by a building for lease today and my husband commented that it would be a good building and location for a gf bakery! No plans for the near future, but it's on the "one of these day" wishlist along with writing a cookbook.

                                              2. The Brookville Hotel outside of Salina, KS served the same wonderful, perfect fried chicken with fixin's every night. The chicken was served family style. It came with a bowl of mashed potatoes, a bowl of gravy, the best creamy cole slaw I've ever had, creamed corn...and the meal began with a little plate of pickles, cherry peppers, and pickled beets. It was an old Victorian hotel with several dining rooms...white table cloth place. I've been looking for a place llike it but have never found one. I heard they moved to Abilene, KS. Fabulous restaurant and packed all the time.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: melly

                                                  During the Great Depression, such restaurants were ubiquitous in the United States. I think every town had one and big cities likely had several. An aunt and uncle owned one in Los Angeles that they bought from the original owner after WWII. Knott's Berry Farm began serving chicken dinners in 1934 (65 cents, including choice of fruit pies for dessert), and today it's the largest chicken restaurant in the country, seating 900. (Maybe in the world!) Then, staying in Southern California, there used to be a landmark chicken restaurant on the Pacific Coast Highway, between San Diego and L.A. I think it was called,, "The Chicken Inn," but I'm not sure. As a little kid, I would watch the roadside until I spotted the place. Two huge concrete piers jutted out from each side of the large grand entrance with a GIANT white chicken standing guard on each pier. They may have been 12 feet tall, but then I was little, so maybe they were only eight feet tall? Loved that place! I would cry if we didn't stop there to eat.

                                                  When it comes to "chicken only restaurants," Harlan Sanders was a way way late comer!

                                                2. A restaurant that only serves soup in bread bowls. I know it's been done before, but I've never seen one in Western Canada. Oh, and all the soups would be vegetarian. And some would be vegan. And we would have optional gluten-free bread bowls. That would actually be good. Oh, and maybe we would sell soup accessories. I'm not sure what soup accessories would be (fancy bowls or something)... but we'd have them.

                                                  1. I'd love to see a restaurant that served re-interpreted Carnival Food -- eg hot dogs, fish & chips, cotton candy, mini donuts, etc etc-- but in the hands of a great chef.

                                                    1. It would be on my street, and would always keep a table free for me just in case I decided to stop by. Only over 30's would be allowed to dine there; it would be smoke free (as it the case by law anyway in the UK) and it would be open 24 hours a day.
                                                      It would serve whatever I felt like on any given day, so a wide variety of foods to choose from including chunky fries, fresh oysters, ripe gooey cheeses, whole grilled fish, a variety of tapas, Brazilian fish stews, macaroni cheese, sushi, fideus, dosa, buttery mashed potatoes and small beautiful deserts. And excellent coffee.
                                                      Is that to much to ask?

                                                      1. As a former restaurateur, my dream restaurant would be something like this.... No as*hole partners to shoot down every good idea, no annoying wine-reps who show up un-announced during the busiest times, lots and lots of loyal regulars who dine 2-3 times a week, a great wait-staff that doesn't whine about every little, stupid thing, customers who never ask to turn the heat up or the AC down or to have me change the music to something "better", vendors who don't add a "fuel surcharge" to every order, purveyors who are not complete idiots, Credit-card processors that aren't a total rip-off, and people who feel they MUST offer their opinion (wanted or not...) like, "Your business card is an abject failure on every level!!". Sorry to sound so bitter, but until you've walked a mile.... However, I do like a lot of your ideas, esp. the House of Dumplings...I am so-o-o there!!

                                                        1. So fun.
                                                          I have two.
                                                          1) A place where younger son and I could have good Asian food of some stripe (noodles, dim sum or sushi) and older kid could have, well, a decent grilled cheese and maybe some fries. I have yet to find the perfect restaurant for their different palates.
                                                          2) A place where its all about vegetable side dishes and you don't have to bother with the meat. Side dishes may want to contain meat, vegetarian is not necessary, but a big plate full of creamed spinach, spicy green beans, perfect mashed potatoes (with gravy), stir fried bok choi, creamy coleslaw, vinegary coleslaw, southern greens, beans with a pork hock, whatever is in season, fresh and perfectly prepared. PS pretty sure both kids could agree on one thing: not to go there : (

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: waver

                                                            there's a place that's a perfect fit for your #1 in nyc: vynl. it's a decent diner with all the traditional diner offerings and a few thai / chinese options (think peking duck spring rolls, chicken satay, pad thai), as well.


                                                            so your idea is apparently a pretty commercially successful one!

                                                          2. A Bolivian restaurant featuring saltaenas and/or a Finnish restaurant w/ Karialian and Lijha Pirrakka. (Google these babies!) Bolivian-Finnish cuisine? Real fusion!
                                                            Hyyvaa comida!
                                                            Markku Marcos

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                              passa, you'll have to write a wikipedia entry. google gives no love.

                                                              1. re: cimui

                                                                C, want a new food addiction? Hop the 7 train to 46th St. in Sunnyside and walk a couple of blocks to 44-10 48th Ave to Mi Bolivia (best on Sundays) and try the chicken saltenas. The sopa de mani (peanut soup) ain't too bad either and I have a weakness for chicharone and pollo a la broasted too.
                                                                Can't find a Finnish restaurant in NYC though.
                                                                Check out Finnish and Bolivian recipes or cook books. No time for Wikki.
                                                                Dam, the fire just went out!

                                                            2. it would be called cut. yum.