The trend for ‘secret’ restaurants is growing in popularity. These are eateries that have no need for traditional marketing and publicity, relying instead upon word of mouth and opting for intriguing features such as unmarked entrances. Other restaurants use ‘secret’ to apply to other features, such as menus. These are just a few of the devices used to set restaurants apart from traditional eateries; believe it or not, there are actually many of these establishments already operating within the US.
Make sure that before you travel to America you find out about the US ESTA programme. The visa waiver programme allows people from participating countries to holiday in the US for a period of 90 days without a formal visa.
Bohemian, New York
You will only be allowed into Bohemian New York with an invite or a referral, so exclusivity is the name of the game here. The phone number is given to repeat customers only, who can take along family and friends. You can apply to the restaurant by email and you might be lucky enough to get an invite.
Vernon’s Hidden Valley Steakhouse, Albuquerque, NM
The Village Shops at Los Ranchos is where you will find this eatery, referred to as a ‘high-class speakeasy’. The right knock on the door and a password are what you need to get in, but the password changes on a weekly basis. Once inside you can get access to the VIP section with another password.
Club 33, Anaheim, California
Found within Disneyland’s New Orleans section, Club 33 is very exclusive. Membership is limited to just 500 people and estimates put the waiting list at 14 years, although there are reports that the waiting list is currently closed. A membership card is issued for those who are selected.
Safe House, Milwaukee
Head to Wisconsin for this restaurant with a spy theme. There are no signs outside and you need a password to get in. You can be introduced by a member; otherwise, it might be difficult to find it – the restaurant does no advertising.
Sidecar, Washington DC
Another restaurant that spurns signage, Sidecar in the nation’s capital has a traditional smoking room and nostalgic feel. It is the ideal restaurant for those looking for a great place for a meeting, private meal or party.
This restaurant offers an unusual location in the form of a temple. The specialist vegetarian cuisine and strong word of mouth ensure that people are still able to find this eatery. The restaurant’s menu is posted each day online.
El Carajo International Tapas & Wine, Miami
This Spanish restaurant has a varied menu and you have to wander through the convenience store section of a gas station to get to it. Great reviews have kept the customers flocking in.
The Pink Door, Seattle
Tucked away in the alleyways around the Pike Place Market, this restaurant is identifiable by the colour of its door. Serving Italian and American dishes that are very traditional, you can be entertained by the trapeze artist as you enjoy your meal.
The range of secret restaurants available means that no matter where you are, you can always enjoy a meal with a difference; however, you need to be prepared to do more than a little bit of detective work if you want to find something off the beaten track.