You may be asking – If the restaurants are a secret, how do people know about them?
Thanks to a lot of research and people who can’t keep quiet, many of the out-of-the-way, no signed restaurants have been discovered.
The “secret restaurants” are difficult to find due to many factors, including the lack of “markers” such as a website, a menu, a phone number, or a marked entrance way. Some of the restaurants truly make finding them as challenging as possible, but that’s half the fun!
The concept of an under-the-radar restaurant has become increasingly trendy and allows a restaurant to create an exclusive experience for an invested audience. Convenience is not a factor when deciding to attend a secret restaurant, but the reward of dining at one can be.
If you are a curious and committed diner, you might be tempted to try to gain entry into one of the obscure places listed below.
Chef Vola’s (Atlantic City, NJ)
Chef Vola’s is a secret, family-run, old-school restaurant that has a website, but the site isn’t helpful. You must know the password to access any site information, and no phone number or address is listed.
Chef Vola’s unmarked location, which is in the basement of a house with 12 tables, is mostly invite-only from a family member of the restaurant. Supposedly, the restaurant is always booked three months in advance, leaving us to wonder how people booked a reservation in the first place. Here, having connections sure pays off!
Bohemian (New York, NY)
A Japanese-inspired restaurant and bar located on Great Jones Street is in a building once owned by Andy Warhol. Bohemian is found behind an ordinary yet famous butcher shop, so if you manage to get a reservation, consider the steak.
You must have a reservation to get in, yet no phone number is available. To secure a reservation, you must get referred by a previous diner or send the restaurant a brief self-introduction (plead your case) through their website (and maybe you will receive an invite).
Vernon’s Hidden Valley Steakhouse (Los Ranchos, NM)
If you happen to be in New Mexico and are craving an extremely delicious steak, Vernon’s secret restaurant may be the place for you – supposing you can locate it and happen to know the password that changes weekly. No sign hangs out front to help you locate the speakeasy, but if you manage to find the restaurant, you must knock three times and then someone will slide open the window.
Although the restaurant is pretty expensive, Vernon’s romantic spot fits the bill. As long as you have the password, enjoy the live jazz music and steak heaven.
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Safe House (Milwaukee, WI)
Before secret restaurants were cool, there was Safe House. The spy-themed restaurant has no sign to mark its location. Unless you know the password, the only way to get in is to perform a series of stunts, which are broadcasted on video screens around the restaurant.
The place has tons of spy film inspiration and mysterious entertainment inside. Word on the street is Safe House makes a mean martini.
Fred’s Breakfast (New Hope, PA)
The member-only breakfast spot has only 31 seats, no sign, and guests must have a key to enter. If you’re lucky enough to obtain a key for Fred’s Breakfast, you’ll sit at a row of tables which offer you a view of the Delaware River. The added bonus is free coffee, but you have to grab the cup of joe yourself.
To acquire a key, you must stop by the store during their hours and sign the waitlist book. The waitlist varies in time from four to four plus months, so try to be patient.
Side Car (Washington, D.C.)
Another secret restaurant with no sign – how helpful. The private dining experience at Side Car features excellent steaks, seafood, and secrecy. The place has a definite “‘old boy’ club” feel.
Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)
If you love beef, take the challenge to find the secret beef restaurant called Totoraku. They do not have a website or a Facebook page, and you need to know someone to get in. You could try walking up to the door with a sign reading “The Teriyaki House Pico”, but chances are you’ll be told they’re full.
Totoraku is not cheap, and the menu tends to be a mystery with a lot of raw beef. If you manage to get in, the chef will likely come out and spice up the atmosphere in the restaurant.
Killer Poboys (New Orleans, LA)
Killer Poboys is an undercover sandwich shop inside a bar – Erin Rose in the French Quarter. This po’boy is topped with lots of delicious herbs, veggies, seasonings, and a special spicy sauce.
To get in, find your way to the back of the Erin Rose Bar from Monday noon-5 p.m. or Wednesday-Sunday noon-midnight (closed Tuesday).
The tougher the table is to get, the more allure! With chefs breaking away from the classic three-course meals, the nation’s most exciting food can be from underground restaurants, restaurants within restaurant, and pop-ups.
Do you know any under-the-radar restaurants to add to our list? Do you have any stories to tell? Share your experience with us!
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