Roller Coaster

You’ve heard of farm-to-table, but what about… roller coaster-to-table??!!?? (Insert comically exaggerated spit-take and record scratch noise.)

In May 2016, the U.K.’s Alton Towers Resort will be introducing the prosaically named Rollercoaster Restaurant, which is not — as you may have guessed — a restaurant where patrons eat on a roller coaster, or a restaurant where the kitchen staff is forced to cook on a roller coaster, but rather a restaurant where your food is delivered via roller coaster. (Insert comically exaggerated spit-take and record scratch noise.)

I’ll let them explain: “The new Rollercoaster Restaurant is set below a vast rollercoaster track where diners can watch as their order tackles two gravity defying loop-the-loops before dropping 8 metres down the tornado spiral to their table.” (We’re ignoring the fact that they’re in violation of the AP style guide, which mandates “roller coaster” be two words.)

“Each diner will enjoy a full 360˚ dining experience at one of the 13 tables,” the site’s blurb continues. Thrilling. Truly thrilling. Watch the video — oddly soundtracked to “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” traditionally used to signal ominous and/or foreboding events in film — and take on the rapturous expression of wonder assumed by the Photoshopped family on the restaurant’s landing page.

The menu, which is predictably — but also bafflingly — laden with roller coaster puns (“Thrills Grills and Spills”) and phrases/objects one doesn’t typically associate with roller coasters. (“Jump Through Hoops” and “The Big Dipper” both appear in section-header font, with no food items below them.)

Also, we’d like to take some time to unpack the presence of the phrase, “Time to turn the tables,” which is also set adrift on the menu, unmoored from any food items. That phrase seems to imply, as we originally assumed, that the diners themselves would be in motion while eating, which — as we have already exhaustively explained — is not the premise of Alton Towers’ Rollercoaster Restaurant.

Lastly, any number of food items one typically doesn’t want served en mouvement — soups, nachos, something called a “potted British ham hock” (which sounds medical) — are present. I’m giving Alton Towers the benefit of the doubt and assuming they’ve worked out some kind of system for these, but given the prominent placement of “accident” and “crash” in Google’s auto-complete results when you type “Alton Towers,” one does wonder.

See you there in May!

— Alex Heigl, @alex_heigl