Virtual Reality Pop-up Restaurant Is The Future Of Dinner Theatre

Photo: Jovanmandic, iStock

If you’ve ever watched someone using a VR headset, you know how hilarious it is to see a person flailing their limbs around wildly, grasping at things that aren’t there, shouting, “Ooooh! Oh! What? WOW!” as they spin in circles. If you want to watch several people doing this at the same time while attempting to put food in their mouths, head over to the James Beard House in New York City, where Aerobanquets RMX, “A Virtual and Augmented Reality Art and Dining Experience in Seven Bites,” is in residence until December 29.

The immersive experience was created by Italian artist Mattia Casalegno, working in partnership with restaurateur Roni Mazumdar and chef Chintan Pandya of New York restaurants Rahi and Adda. Guests are seated in a darkened room in fully spinnable chairs and are instructed how to eat once the VR headsets are strapped on. Each dish is embedded with a sensor that, when aligned with diners’ fingers, triggers a flurry of visuals and sounds designed around each one-bite “course.” Just pick it up, tip your head back, pop it in your mouth, and let the magic begin.

As the Washington Post reports, what exactly is being served isn’t revealed until the experience is over, when diners remove their headsets and are given a printed menu card. We won’t share any details as to what those dishes are or what audiovisual cues accompany them, because (as you can see from the teaser video above) this whole shebang looks amazing, and none of it should be spoiled for anyone fortunate enough to get tickets before this pop-up ends on December 29.

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