Attention Toilet Enthusiasts!

January 2, 2014

Featured

Los Angeles area gets America’s first restroom-themed restaurant 
 
Magic Restroom Café in City of Industry, Calif. features toilet seats and other bathroom accessories as decor. Photo courtesy of Daniel Chyan, Magic Restroom Café.

Magic Restroom Café in City of Industry, Calif. features toilet seats and other bathroom accessories as decor. Photo courtesy of Daniel Chyan, Magic Restroom Café.

Not many restaurant openings capture the attention of Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) staff. But then again, not many restaurants sport the ambiance and décor of a water closet.

The place is the Magic Restroom Café (City of Industry, Calif.), the first restaurant in America to celebrate toilets, bathrooms, and their associated trappings.

News outlets worldwide have reported on the restaurant since its soft opening in early October. Curious diners have flocked there to dine on braised pork over rice, stinky Tofu, and other Taiwanese dishes served in miniature toilet bowls, all in an atmosphere only a true toilet connoisseur could love.

The café lobby and dining areas feature not only custom-made urinals and standard Western toilets (complete with galvanized steel pipe fittings), but also squat toilets more commonly found in Taiwan and China. And some tables include shower heads on an adjacent wall.

The cafe features many restroom-themed decorative pieces including urinals and plungers. Photo courtesy of Chyan.

The cafe features many restroom-themed decorative pieces including urinals and plungers. Photo courtesy of Chyan.

It should be noted that most of the fixtures are for decorative purposes only — except the toilet seats. They are functional in the sense that they are what patrons sit on during dinner. Those who prefer the luxury of a back rest need only lift the lid.

And that’s not a patron’s only option. As one helpful customer posted in a review on the Yelp (San Francisco) website, “If you keep the lid down, ladies can store their purses inside [the toilet] while they dine.”

How many other restaurants and/or bathrooms have you seen that offer that kind of amenity?

Perhaps the most important thing to know about the Magic Restroom is that it isn’t a joke, according to waiter and spokesperson Daniel Chyan. “Everything here is authentic and imported from Japan,” he said. “The toilet seats and serving dishes were all made to order especially for our restaurant.”

Inspired by the modern toilet

The café's theme was inspired by similar resturants in Asia. Photo courtesy of Chyan.

The café's theme was inspired by similar resturants in Asia. Photo courtesy of Chyan.

If you sense an Asian influence on the Magic Restroom, you’re correct. YoYo Li, the café’s general manager, is a native of China. She was inspired to create the Magic Restroom after witnessing the success of the similarly themed Modern Toilet Restaurant in Taiwan, Chyan said.

Now boasting more than a dozen locations throughout Asia, this Taiwanese restaurant was founded in 2006 after the owners of an ice cream parlor saw sales soar for one of their concoctions – “a big pile of chocolate ice cream sold in containers shaped like a squat toilet,” according to the Modern Toilet of Taiwan’s website.

“At the start, many people peered in at the restaurant trying to figure out what we were selling — then had a big smile on their face when they finally worked it out,” the website reports.

This prompts the question: why would anyone, anywhere, want to dine in a restaurant that reminds them of a bathroom?

Aside from the pure novelty of the experience, Chyan isn’t entirely sure.

The novelty café serves Taiwanese cuisine to customers. Photo courtesy of Chyan.

The novelty café serves Taiwanese cuisine to customers. Photo courtesy of Chyan.

“The majority of the people who have come in so far seem to have read or heard about our place and wanted to check it out for themselves,” Chyan said. “Many of our customers have come with a group because it seems like a fun thing to do with their friends. Some take pictures and leave without eating. Most people are just not used to seeing a toilet in a restaurant.”

Outside of the restroom, at least.

The Magic Restroom has those, too, Chyan said. “Our bathrooms are quite normal,” he said. We wouldn’t want to confuse the customers, he added.

While business has been especially brisk on the weekends, early Yelp reviews of the Magic Restroom have been mixed. Chyan thinks he understands why.

“There is the initial shock of eating out of a toilet,” he said. “It’s not something that people are used to. They’re out of their comfort zone.”

As for the people who toil day-in, day-out to make indoor plumbing possible, Chyan does not know if any of his patrons work in the water resource recovery industry. “But they wouldn’t necessarily tell us if they were,” he said.

And that’s too bad. We’d love to hear their professional opinion. Just no potty jokes, please.

Mary Bufe, WEF Highlights

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
,

Comments are closed.