Opaque Restaurant Part of 'Dining in the Dark' Trend

How would you like to arrive at a restaurant only to have the waiter usher you into a pitch-black room for your meal?  

As bizarre as it may sound, this is the newest trend taking hold across the nation.

People call it "dining in the dark."

It's not actually a new phenomenon. The idea originated with a man named Jorge Spielmann years ago in Zurich. Spielmann is blind, and when guests would dine at his house, they would often wear a blindfold to show fraternity with their host.

His guests discovered that wearing a blindfold enhanced their other senses, enriching their dining experience.

Spielmann said, "The sighted guests commented that being blindfolded made them give more emphasis to the food and listen more intently to the conversation around them. There were no visual distractions, only intense concentration."

In 1999, Spielmann expanded the idea by opening a dark restaurant in Zurich he called The Blind Cow.

In 2005, the idea took hold in the United States with a restaurant called Opaque. Opaque has now spread to five locations around the country: Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, New York, and Dallas. Like The Blind Cow, Opaque's dining room is pitch black, and the servers are all either blind or visually impaired.

Since customers aren't able to look at a menu during their meal, they make their selections beforehand in the lighted lounge area. From that moment on, they leave their sense of sight behind, venture into the dark, and let their other senses take hold.  

Many diners admit that at first they feel disoriented as they try to eat in the dark. Some even struggle to find their mouths with their forks.

Dinnertime conversation takes on a whole new dimension as well. We seldom realize how much we rely on visual cues when we engage in a conversation with someone, but diners are finding that not being able to see anyone's body language or facial expressions makes them feel a bit uneasy,


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