Strange Ways Restaurants Have Served Food

By Jake Schroeder
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Restaurants offer the best way to get a fantastic meal and spend some time relaxing. When it comes to presenting that meal, most people just want their food without dealing with any kind of fanfare that complicates everything. This doesn't stop some spots from delivering their dishes in their own unique ways, though.

These restaurants had some peculiar ways to showcase their dishes. Whether they make you laugh or shudder, it's hard to say they didn't make some kind of impression.

Personal Hibachis

Primarily used in Japan, hibachi grills can cook a decent meal with a delicious, char-grilled taste. The thing about these grills, though, is that they’re big. A chef can cook multiple cuts of meat over a traditional hibachi’s charcoal flames.

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Photo Courtesy: Hogemarupi/Wikimedia

New York City's Tanuki Tavern was known for delivering tasty steaks. Despite their great flavor, the steaks were sent to customers on top of mini hibachis. Fortunately, the hibachis weren't flaming for the duration of the meal. This was a way for the owner to showcase just how intense the steaks were.

With Arms Wide Open

Salmon tartare is one of the fancier foods you'll devour at high-end parties or restaurants. Made from raw salmon, this treat is often served as an hors d'oeuvre. It’s also great on crackers or bread for a delectable snack.

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When chef Ian Kittichai opened his restaurant, he knew he wanted to stand out. His salmon tartare didn't simply arrive at the table on a plain old plate, though. It arrived on a metal device with several "arms" holding different servings of the fish. This contraption really only worked well for larger groups of diners who could reach all the arms from different angles.

Gotta Bag It Up

Smoothies are perfect for delivering a big boost of nutrients. Over the years, the smoothie industry has skyrocketed. With more smoothie bars opening, the industry can expect more money to come pouring in.

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While smoothies are normally served in glasses or to-go cups, one restaurant ditched these convenient carriers for something unreasonable. The staff poured smoothies into Ziploc bags and placed them in toy shopping carts before giving them to customers. There's no telling how many times a smoothie bag tore open after getting caught in the cart.


You Are the Champion

Mostly served in the United Kingdom, Scotch eggs are hard-boiled eggs wrapped with ground sausage and then fried. The picnic food is virtually a national dish, and you can find the eggs in just about every pub.

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White Lion Bar in Bristol offered Scotch eggs in a way that was best suited to champions. The bar placed the snacks inside small silver trophies with the inscription "World's Best Scotch Egg." Unfortunately, customers didn’t get to take these fun trophies home.

Put Your Foot in Your Mouth

Depending on where you live, fritters are a prime treat. These breaded morsels can contain various fruits, meats and vegetables. In the U.K., fritters are often served alongside the ubiquitous fish and chips. In America, zucchini and apple fritters are popular versions.

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At Jose Andres' restaurants in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, cooks served fritters in real shoes. Due to health code issues, Andres later swapped real shoes with glass ones resembling Converse sneakers. Andres teamed up with designer Sami Hayek to come up with this innovative way to serve food.

This Food Rocks

When you're at a new restaurant, it’s easy to be indecisive about what to get. Fortunately, tasting menus exist to help you out. These feature a sampling of small portions to taste-test. They’re also a chef's way of showcasing their cooking skills.

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At Adam’s Restaurant in Birmingham, England, the tasting menu felt like hunting for treasure. Instead of using a regular plate, chefs placed the food in a wooden box covered in rocks. If you wanted to find your food, you had to start pulling rocks out. Fortunately, no one confused a rock as part of the meal — that we know of, at least.


Make It Hot

After a long day at work, there's nothing like a cocktail. With so many different variations available, it’s fun to test them all before finding your favorites. One of the most popular cocktails in the world is the old fashioned, which saw a resurgence thanks to Mad Men.

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When it comes to this cocktail, one restaurant had a unique way of serving it. Patrons were served their drinks in hollowed-out red peppers. While the peppers were clean, it seems like they might’ve changed the flavor of the drinks — and maybe not in a good way.

Digging Up Some Breakfast

Without a proper breakfast, your entire day can feel miserable. Some 44% of Americans choose to skip breakfast before heading to work. Whether you're eating cereal or eggs, breakfast gives your body an important boost to make it through the day. But you might still want to watch your portions.

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The U.K.'s Tickethall offered breakfast on huge shovels. The Fireman's Breakfast was meant to emulate how firefighters ate their meals back in the day. Here’s a contender for "most memorable breakfast of all time."

What Does Ken Think?

If you ever want a debate about steak, ask someone how they like theirs cooked. Steak is one of the most popular meats at restaurants across the United States. Knowing this, one restaurant still found a weird way to try and make the meat even more eye-catching.

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New York City's Niu Pot mixed rib-eye steak and Barbie in one weird collaboration. The restaurant wrapped strips of streak around Barbie dolls to create meat dresses. Visitors pulled off these strips to place into Chinese hot pot broth. Talk about playing with your food!


Read It and Eat, Boys

Sometimes, you want to see what's happening in the news while eating. Many people check their local newspapers during breakfast. But some experts are against reading anything while you're eating — some studies suggest this can lead to weight gain.

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Laughing in the face of this research, Australia's Italian restaurant Friggitoria served its food on newspapers. Fortunately, these newspapers were made entirely of wax. This means no ink got on anyone's food. It also meant customers didn't have to deal with soggy newspapers.

Logging Those Meals

When you look up "delicacy" in the dictionary, don’t be surprised if you find a picture of oysters there. One story went around stating that oysters were better to consume during months with the letter "r" in them. This meant it became almost impossible to get them during the summer.

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While oysters have been cooked in logs before, one restaurant decided to serve them on actual logs. Because logs carry various fungi and bacteria, there was a chance of something infesting these oysters. They might have looked great, but accidentally getting a piece of log (or something else) in your mouth isn't fun, either.

Pot Goes the Weasel

Tiramisu has always delighted dessert lovers. The dish saw a spike in popularity after it was mentioned in the hit comedy Sleepless in Seattle. While people normally eat tiramisu cold, having it warm is actually just as good. But is having it "planted" still tasty?

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One restaurant gave customers this dessert in little flower pots. As expected, customers were concerned about whether the pots were thoroughly cleaned. Don't expect to bring this home as a gift for someone, though. The flower pots stayed in the restaurant, which meant you had to bring folks to witness this in person.


From the Street to the Table

There's nothing wrong with having a piece of bread by itself. Many people chow on bread as an appetizer. A slice of bread offers ample carbohydrates to help fuel your body. But the carb-conscious among us don’t view it as the healthiest option.

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One Australian restaurant had a creepy way of handling bread requests by placing its loaves in (taxidermied) roadkill. While customers thought this was fake, the kangaroo fur confirmed these were once living creatures. This almost feels like the restaurant's weird way of punishing someone for simply ordering some bread.

Wood You Care?

Many people can't get enough of this scrumptious breakfast. Thanks to old-school diners, eating pancakes at any time of the day is a joy. And we don’t just love them in the U.S., either. Whether making them from rice or bananas, countries around the world create pancakes in their own special ways.

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One restaurant passed on plates and served pancakes on blocks of wood. Things probably got dicey when customers tried cutting their pancakes. Some accidentally sliced their way into the wood. Can you imagine getting a sliver in your tongue?

A Futuristic Way of Eating

When it comes to pastries, apple is a favorite filling. You’ll find it in various forms, including apple turnovers and apple fritters. With more variations of apple pastries in the works, fans can't wait to get their hands and mouths on all of them.

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When serving apple pastries, San Francisco restaurant Quince did something completely outrageous. They placed the pastries on iPads that had an image of a plate as their backgrounds. Some people found this clever, while others thought it was unsanitary.


On the Grind

No matter where you are, you're probably a few steps away from a hot dog. Vendors march up and down the street, ready to serve these delicious snacks. They're also a must-have food at picnics and cookouts.

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New York City's Santa Salsa took a love of skateboarding to the next level by serving hot dogs on skateboards. For a newcomer to the eatery, this might have been an odd way to chow down on their meal. It begins to make sense when you realize the restaurant's decor is made out of skateboards.

Taking Out the Trash

When it comes to parties and sporting events, nachos are definitely a desirable snack. Nachos are so powerful that there’s a holiday celebrating the food. The snack was named after Ignacio "El Nacho" Anaya, who invented it back in 1943.

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Texas' Fuzzy's Taco Shop served massive quantities of nachos for groups of people. Unfortunately, they delivered the appetizers on garbage can lids. There's a good chance they couldn't find a tray sturdy enough to contain so many nachos at once. Fortunately for servers, it was easy to carry.

Ashes to Ashes

Peanut butter is one of those foods with a flavor that pairs well with almost anything. Some people dunk celery sticks in a jar of peanut butter. Others spread their animal crackers with the nutty goodness. No matter how you use it, peanut butter will remain a versatile food.

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If you're looking for peanut butter, one restaurant might leave you feeling sick. Instead of using a typical cup, it placed peanut butter dip in ashtrays instead of bowls. Let’s hope that the bar area wasn’t also letting customers use the ashtrays for their cigarettes.


Up on the Roof

Originating in France, Brie is a cheese that often tastes better as it ages. Despite the various types of Brie, the French government only allows Brie de Meaux and Brie de Melun to be sold using the Brie name. People often confuse Brie with fellow French cheese Camembert.

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Instead of using plates, one restaurant used roof tiles to serve its Brie. There's plenty of questions surrounding this presentation. Did they get the tiles from the top of the restaurant? Were these tiles collecting dust in someone's basement for years? We’ll probably never know, and we don’t really want to.

Sorbet on the Beach

If heavy ice cream isn't your thing, a lovely, light sorbet can cool you down on a hot day. This treat is different from Italian ice because it uses real fruit. It's also one of those treats that people make with wine instead of water for some extra punch.

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German restaurant Falco confused people when it began serving sorbet on flip-flops. Rounded scoops of the sorbet sat atop cookie crumbles meant to resemble sand, all piled on the shoes. Despite its laughable appearance, this became a highly requested dessert at the restaurant.

No Dressing for You

When you want to start eating healthier, salads are a great menu option. In a poll conducted by YouGov, a market research company, 83% of Americans report they can't get enough of salads. But, a vast majority of these voters were over the age of 55. When people want to get healthier by eating salads, it should be more convenient to do so, right?

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U.K. restaurant Bella Italia became known for serving salads in colanders. This meant that whatever dressing patrons poured on their salads dribbled out through the colander holes. To properly eat from this kitchen tool, you'd need several napkins underneath — or maybe you just need a real bowl.


Hanging Out to Dry

Bacon isn't just on the side of your breakfast plate anymore — it’s sort of a culinary holy grail. The average American consumes 18 pounds of bacon yearly. A 2013 poll by Smithfield determined that about 65% of Americans would approve of declaring bacon the new national food.

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Michigan's Bad Brads BBQ delivered bacon hanging on a small clothesline. While people typically blot the grease off bacon before eating it, this presentation was too much for some. Would you look at drying clothes the same way again after witnessing this strange serving method?

Going Too Far

Gelatin is a refreshing treat for people of all ages. Aside from tasting great, this dessert offers some key health benefits thanks to its collagen content. The most popular brand of gelatin worldwide is Jell-O, which people have been eating since the 1880s.

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Japan's Curry Shop Shimizu tried to be controversial by serving strawberry gelatin on maxi pads. Some customers left the restaurant after being served the dessert. The eatery’s practices were too much for locals to handle. In 2017, Curry Shop Shimizu officially shut down.


If you're out with friends, trying to choose something to eat can be challenging. One thing everyone can usually agree on is a classic hamburger. Americans eat more than 14 billion burgers every year. With 50,000 burger spots in the United States, it's difficult to pass up on a burger.

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At Slovenia's Stari Pisker, customers found a towering cheeseburger with 10 patties. To keep it from collapsing, the restaurant slid small swords through each burger. We’re not sure how the restaurant handled any impromptu sword fights between customers, though.


Think Outside the Bun

Tacos have become a beloved meal around the world. In the United States, people eat around 4.5 billion tacos yearly. The love for tacos caused Taco Bell, which started out as a hot dog and burger joint, to begin serving them.

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In Brazil, restaurant Cereja Flor Cafe Bistro shocked taco lovers by serving tacos in milkshake cups. The cups were completely covered in cheese with some accompanying nachos on the side. While cheese is great for tacos, having to scrape it from a huge cup looks silly and doesn’t make it easy to enjoy the meal.

Drinking Is Fundamental

In the U.K., teatime is important. British people drink a combined 150+ million cups of tea daily. Despite this number, the U.K. is behind Turkey in terms of tea consumption.

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At Birmingham City Centre’s fine food market, you don't just get a cup of tea on the table. You’ll also find all of the sweeteners and treats you'll need in a portable bookshelf. For servers, trying to carry this across the area can be one tricky trip.

Ronald McDonald Isn't a Fan

As we mentioned, burgers and fries make for a simple yet effective solution for a quick meal. A combo doesn't cost much, and you'll get your order in a couple of minutes. But as ubiquitous as they are, burgers and fries aren’t all created equally.

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One restaurant tried to save plates by serving burgers and fries in massive wine glasses. Trying to get to the burgers, which were awkwardly placed near the glasses’ rims, was challenging. Customers had to remove the burgers and place them on napkins before continuing their meal.


Fill 'Er Up

Beloved by everyone, doughnuts might just be one of the most perfect foods ever. Whether it's part of your breakfast or a late-night snack, a doughnut can definitely sate your sweet tooth. Every year, Americans eat 10 billion of the round pastries.

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One thing people adore about certain doughnuts is the jelly filling. New York’s Abe & Arthur's gave customers a shock by providing them piping bags with which to fill their own doughnuts. The end result was a complete mess for everyone involved, but at least it was an interactive experience.

Make It Yourself

In the Middle East, hummus is common at many meals. Hummus is so popular that 300 cooks from Lebanon created a masterful ode to the tasty dip. Weighing in at 23,040 pounds, it earned the Guinness World Record for the largest dish of hummus.

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At New York City's Middle Eastern restaurant Balaboosta, hummus was always a way of life. Unfortunately, the restaurant didn’t serve hummus like a normal business would. It made patrons work for their hummus by letting them make it from scratch. For foodies, this was probably a fun learning experience.

Going Hard With Seasoning

When it comes to cooking seafood, Old Bay seasoning is practically a necessity. This seasoning has been a top choice for crab boils for decades. Outside of seafood, people throw it on various meats such as turkey and roast beef, too.

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New York City restaurant Choptank was familiar with the appeal of Old Bay seasoning. For its biggest meals, it offered massive tins of Old Bay seasoning for guests. This was perfect for those who couldn't get enough of this seasoning. For others, it looked like a complete eyesore at the table.