Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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The Hundred Thousand Gallon Restaurant

Are you feeling lucky?
  (+64, -8)(+64, -8)(+64, -8)
(+64, -8)
  [vote for,
against]

Once I was eating in a crappy little undifferentiated restaurant, and a patron at the next table stood up too quickly, knocking into a passing waitress who was carrying a tray full of root beer, which ended up all over one of my friends. Since it wasn't me that got soaked, I spent the evening marveling at the sense of adventure: amusing experience, everything on the house, free T-shirts.

Behold the logical next step: the Hundred Thousand Gallon Restaurant. It is fit only for New York, Tokyo, or some other intense, liberal, 24-hour, novelty-craving city.

You arrive at the front gate, where you are greeted by a large and stern sign warning you of what you are getting into. You sign waivers; a big production is made of this. You step into a cavernously tall interior, and as you sit down, you see that the apparent ceiling is actually the bottom of a cistern so large as to be scarcely believable. The food is pretty good, and you pay a lot for it. It's a sceney place. The decor is arty. It's somewhere that pampered lawyers and visiting rock stars like to go. All the stemware is plastic, and the dishes are very sturdy.

If you are not lucky, that will be the extent of your evening at the Hundred Thousand Gallon Restaurant. You will take a mint from the front desk as you leave, and stroll out into the night, musing on what might have been.

But let us imagine that you are lucky: lucky enough to dine on one of the five nights each year, selected at random by a computer and not known to a single living soul in advance, on which the Great Deluge occurs. You are, say, putting the last bite of your asparagus risotto appetizer in your mouth, when a genuinely disconcerting sound is heard. Hundreds of steel valves, you see, have simultaneously snapped open above you. Those valves looked sturdy and reassuring when they were closed; now they are distinctly menacing, in the way that a blown submarine hatch is menacing. The first FWAP of water hits your table with an astonishing shock. The table buckles with the impact. Your dishes fly away. Water is descending on you at an indescribable rate.

Already the employee at the host station, heart leaping, weeks of training surging forth, has jumped to the front gate and locked it. No one else will get in. The people outside are not among those anointed by fate.

The sound is deafening. The restaurant is already clearly ruined. Artwork has been torn from the walls, light fixtures have shorted out, curtains have torn, the upholstery on the chairs is waterlogged, the piano is no longer in one piece. Were it not for the gaping drains in the floor, everyone would be fighting to keep their heads above water.

Almost as quickly as it began, the flood is over. Several people are sobbing, but mostly the reaction is stunned silence and sputtering. All the waitstaff are trained paramedics; they rush to the aid of any injured customers. The busfolk and water servers quickly collect the ruins of furniture, dishes, and food, shoving the rubble to the sides of the room.

Then the party begins.

All the food is free, and holy shit, it's some of the best food you've ever tasted. Top chefs from around town, under special contract, have been summoned to the kitchen, which has been spared. A DJ shows up with several assistants, who quickly rig an impressive sound and light system. Hundred-year-old wine is brought up from the cellars. Confetti and bubbles stream through the air. It is millenial gaiety; it is madness. Opera stars show up at the gate and vainly beg admittance.

The party is over at sunrise. Before leaving, you are handed a fragment of furniture and a miniature Noah's Ark, cast in solid gold, inscribed with your name and "...has survived the Great Deluge of MM-DD-YY".

The Hundred Thousand Gallon Restaurant closes for a week. Famous decorators remodel it. The menu changes. The tank is refilled. The owners spend several nervous days on the phone with their insurance company, talking about why a special risk is called a special risk.

The gate opens again. The suspense begins to build anew.

egads, Feb 20 2004

Table for two... http://www.nmt.edu/...tub/pics/splash.jpg
[k_sra, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

(??) pob27 link http://www.snopes.c...eakish/molasses.htm
[sufc, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

[link]






       I am a newbie. This place rules.
egads, Feb 20 2004
  

       "...and I'm asking you, my dear - will you marr- oh, dear God, no..."
Detly, Feb 20 2004
  

       Diluvio cavat crustum
thumbwax, Feb 20 2004
  

       "five nights each year"? You'll need to do this once a month! The demand will be enormous.... The paparazzi with haunt you, spying on deliveries to try to determine the night it will happen. Celebrities will demand to know the schedule. They will want back-stage passes to witness the deluge from the safety of a VIP room. You must be stern with them.   

       "light fixtures have shorted out" Okay, that actually sounds kind of dangerous.
ConsultingDetective, Feb 20 2004
  

       Holy leaping waterfall this is marvelous! Absolutely positively marvelous! Welcome, [egads].
k_sra, Feb 20 2004
  

       Quite possibly the best idea ever. You'll be rich someday if you aren't already.
yabba do yabba dabba, Feb 20 2004
  

       [egads]! Wonderful idea, sir, and welcome! I am saddened by the fact that I can only give you one bun for this ...
Letsbuildafort, Feb 20 2004
  

       "Waiter, there's 100,000 gallons of water in my soup."
"Congratulations, sir."
  

       (WTAGIPBAN)
krelnik, Feb 20 2004
  

       [egads] thank you for proving that newbies can, and do, come up with excellent ideas. I regret that I may only give you one croissant. [+]
Klaatu, Feb 20 2004
  

       Reservations for two please. For about 2.5 months after you open.
Worldgineer, Feb 20 2004
  

       egad, sir, welcome, and a trayful of crispy crusty croissants for you. Superb. The randomity is perfect - people will throng the place for ever....
phlogiston, Feb 20 2004
  

       bunderful, egads, and welcome. bun for you! bun for the whole family!   

       how would we keep people from lingering at their tables?   

       here's the added bonus; people would check their cell phones and other electronic devices at the door! no disturbances!
changokun, Feb 20 2004
  

       I kept reading this as the 'Hundred Thousand Galleon Restaurant.' That's a lot of dabloons. Come to think of it, have we done a pirate-themed restaurant? Where's Afro when you need 'im?
RayfordSteele, Feb 20 2004
  

       sorry but I hate getting my hair wet!
po, Feb 20 2004
  

       How contrived! Would people really be drawn to a fake disaster? If it were a real disaster you would have perhaps fifteen dead, twenty maimed etc. Try skydiving, it's real.
hangingchad, Feb 23 2004
  

       //Where's Afro when you need 'im?//

DU-DU-DU-DUN DUN DUN! You summoned me?

BEST.IDEA.EVER.
AfroAssault, Feb 24 2004
  

       If the ceiling were glass you could have dinner entertainment in the form of synchronized swimmers - who would of course be invited to the party when they and the Hundred Thousand Gallons drop. Additionally, you could reclaim the water for reuse after straining out the loose bits of food, demolished fixtures, dentures, toupes and what-have-you.
MilkToast, Feb 24 2004
  

       It might be difficult to marry:
// selected at random by a computer and not known to a single living soul in advance //
with:
// Top chefs from around town, under special contract, have been summoned to the kitchen, which has been spared. A DJ shows up with several assistants //
  

       Though I guess if you wave enough money around you can get the people and supplies on demand.
benjamin, Feb 24 2004
  

       Details, details, details... Oh, Happy Day! Afro is back in the saddle.
thumbwax, Feb 24 2004
  

       WOW !
skinflaps, Feb 24 2004
  

       That is the greatest idea ever to grace this site. I would absoulutly love to go to this restaurant. It is the single most wonderfull thing i've ever heard. Kudos!!!
bovinemilk, Feb 24 2004
  

       Leaping Limminey! It only took a Hundred Thousand Gallons of Water to bring [Afro] back!
k_sra, Feb 24 2004
  

       P.S. Who are the 5 people who voted against?!?! Dont they have a sense of adventure and imagination?
bovinemilk, Feb 24 2004
  

       Thank you. Glad to be back.
AfroAssault, Feb 24 2004
  

       Hmmm.... "Where's forty-seven million dollars when I need it?" (crosses fingers...)
RayfordSteele, Feb 24 2004
  

       water great idea, nice one [egads].
neilp, Feb 24 2004
  

       bristolz and AfroAssault back on the same day!.
sufc, Feb 24 2004
  

       It almost makes one wonder... (were one's brain still capable of abstraction after one has spent all morning unsuccessfully crunching numbers).
Detly, Feb 24 2004
  

       I voted against this because I have experienced it, and I suggest it's not as much fun as the majority percieves.   

       I was in a microbrewery restaurant when one of the main brewing tanks exploded, erupting thousands of gallons of Best Bitter throughout the establishment. Thankfully the brewing room took the brunt of the damage, but nonetheless those of us in the restaurant section had to be escorted out through a mid-calf-deep river of beer, into a cold January night, avoiding the spray as we went.   

       On the whole, I'd have preferred to finish my dinner.
waugsqueke, Feb 24 2004
  

       INCREDIBLE! Book me in for dinner at this restaurant!   

       I can imagine that the level of suspense for diners would be increased if:   

       1. The re-decorators chose classy B&W pictures of the last deluge destruction to adorn the toilet walls.   

       2. There was the occasional 'false alarm' where the valves made ominous noises, but the staff display only mild concern in aircrew-like professionalism.
not_only_but_also, Feb 25 2004
  

       If the "piano is no longer in one piece" then some of the diners are probably killed. I personally don't think the thrill would be worth it... Don't forget all those Bostonians (in 1919) killed in the great molasses tidal wave! http://www.snopes.com/horrors/ freakish/molasses.htm   

       Well written, however!
pob27, Feb 25 2004
  

       /On the whole, I'd have preferred to finish my dinner/   

       Waugs - one of the few men alive who can't *enjoy* a piss-up in a brewery!   

       The difference here is that if you knew this could possibly happen, and didn't want to enjoy the experience, then you wouldn't attend. Also, if you weren't willing to risk injury etc then you wouldn't sign the waivers.   

       I'm awarding this idea the soggy, disintegrated remnants of what was once a delicate example of the pastry-makers art. Just for sheer novelty value.
egbert, Feb 25 2004
  

       HOORAH!!! sign me up! Where do I call to make reservations?! A big crossie for Egad!
Apologetic_Cynic, Feb 25 2004
  

       I didn't care much for this until I saw thumbwax's anno.
po, Feb 25 2004
  

       80 croissants in less than a week? I'm missing something...
bungston, Feb 25 2004
  

       So far he gets the Rookie of the Year trophy ...
Letsbuildafort, Feb 25 2004
  

       Hey, it's almost my birthday, can I get reservations? That would be the Best Birthday Gift Ever! *<:D
spacecadet, Feb 25 2004
  

       This is amazing... on for less than a week and it's already 23 in the charts!...   

       I wouldn't vote for this idea unless the water was somehow thick and creamy... I dunno... it wouldn't feel so much like being drenched?... ...
Ossalisc, Feb 26 2004
  

       I think you've nailed it [oxen]... ... ... I have no doubt that there is no way this idea will ever reach the top spot on the bakery... I was going to go against this one, but was convinced by the comments... and the thought of swimming (although swimming after eating would never be very good )
Ossalisc, Feb 26 2004
  

       // If the ceiling were glass // Oooh, I LIKE that!   

       The synchronized swimmers would have to be trained in the art of working against phenomenal suction. "Okay, there's a warning PING two seconds before the valves go... get yourself right over one of those suckers and BRACE!" If they fail to hold on, they drop through a valve and dangle by a sturdy cord that they're always attached to; later their colleagues mock their public failure. (Graceful water ballet while attached to sturdy cords is left as an exercise for the reader.)   

       You could also maybe have colored plastic fish in the tank that were good for special prizes.   

       Gosh, 80! [blushes] Uh, I'm not sure I feel worthy, but thanks everyone!
egads, Feb 27 2004
  

       Mmmm, pretty young celebrities in white shirts getting soaked by hundreds of gallons of water... i hope you have good security cameras; the website will make more than the resturante.
WhiteWiz, Apr 16 2004
  

       I DO love paranoid people. I DO love swimming after eating. I DO love eating. +
sweet, Apr 17 2004
  

       I'd eat there every night...
5th Earth, Apr 17 2004
  

       Huh? Must've had too much to drink before writing this...
bspollard, May 24 2004
  

       cough! Splutter! did I just read all that correctly??
simonj, Jun 09 2004
  

       Sounds a bit like "The Restaurant at the end of the Universe" in the Hitch hikers guide to the Galaxy series.
energy guy, Jun 09 2004
  

       "Because I got high, because I got high, because I got high."
oldvan, Jun 09 2004
  

       This is an absolutely WONDERFUL idea.   

       //"five nights each year"? You'll need to do this once a month!// I completely agree there, Maybe even once a week! 5 nights a year is much much too spaced out. Jeeze, I'd go every week! Just make sure you put it in Ohio, to even out the boredom.
Azryll, Jun 19 2004
  

       Yup, this is good. Do it, I'll cut in five bucks if I get to be there opening night. Or, even better, the first night it floods, cuz you know women are gonna be getting wet and naked.   

       Oh, and an idea for the light fixtures: either raintight or immersion fixtures, or LV controller stuff with all the transformer packs in a protected room...that would at least minimize the shock hazard while making remodeling somewhat easier/cheaper. Maybe swimming-pool type watertight niche lights for "emergency" lighting after the flood?
otmShank, Jun 19 2004
  

       I too think this is a wonderful idea...that, and that you are a pretty good writer!   

       Have you bounced this off any restauranters as yet?
originalsen, Jun 24 2004
  

       "Yes sir, we do have a table for two. Would you like smoking or non-smoki...Oh, what am I saying they'll all be non-smoking at some point." Does your sit cushion double as a floatation device? How about souvenir inflatable lobster bibs. Imagine the possiblities. I'm bringing my scuba gear, sort of Rocky Horror Picture Show meets the Titanic. The best part, after you strain out all the furniture, lost shoes, and juicy bits of piano, you'll have stock for soup next month!
Spare parts, Jul 03 2004
  

       Wicked cool, impossibly creative, and very nicely written. . .
bpilot, Jul 11 2004
  

       Awesome, this sounds so much like something I could read in a Pratchett novel or [insert favorite award winning novelist here] novel. You should consider taking up a career as a novelist.   

       It's such a novel idea.
danharold, Jul 19 2004
  

       I love this!
PinkDrink, Jul 19 2004
  

       Yayah! Nice one gads.
weedy, Jul 19 2004
  

       So I'm churning the highest-voted ideas, and nearly fell out of my chair at this.   

       Just for the sake of argument, can we put some numbers to this? How much could it possibly cost to erect the structure, hire staff/lawyers, buy insurance, and run the day-to-day restaurant?   

       When I've got enough money to do ludicrous things, this is at the top of the list. I'll invite you all to a nice dinner some night.
absterge, Jul 22 2004
  

       Well, the lawyers you'd have on retainer, so there's a 10-thousand-dollar-plus fee associated with that. Then you pay them by the hour when they're needed.   

       As for the restauraunt, costs are surely to be in excess of 5 million; it costs about a million bucks to build a Mickey Ds these days. Most of the costs would be in piping and drainage. You'd also need a leak cellar (every dam has one), but that's easy enough to build.   

       Insurance would be disgustingly cheap - after all, everyone who gets in signs a waiver. Make sure your host staff is well-trained in *repeating* that they will get wet and maybe hurt (though not likely with quality equipment and tables).   

       As far as the idea goes, it makes the custard-powered stop light idea look like so much soggy liver. I wish I could give multiple buns, cuz this is great.
shapu, Jul 22 2004
  

       I was hanging on every word, Egads. The writing's great and the idea's fantabulous. I'd definitely be a regular there.
Machiavelli, Jul 29 2004
  

       I have heard that Camels can hold quite a lot of water...
lostdog, Jul 29 2004
  

       "Hey let's go out to eat at a place where we get really great stuff if we get wet...as long as we live through the flood"   

       The injuries are my only problem with this idea. I would have people that have any medical conditions to be put in a safer wet zone, like an upper level that doesn't get hit by the water as hard. Also maybe attach the plates to the tables by some means such as a bolt or magnet. That aside, a really great well written idea. [+]
MrDaliLlama, Jul 30 2004
  

       Sounds cool. Ideal for churches looking to do mass baptisms
tasman, Jul 30 2004
  

       Whenever you feel down about having lost those croissants in the bakery fire, come and pay visit to it's biggest victim.
spiritualized, Oct 11 2004
  

       I was gonna churn this, but thought it might be bad form.   

       But since someone else did it for me...
shapu, Oct 11 2004
  

       All those croissants sluiced away....
wagster, Oct 11 2004
  

       Apparently, they weren't attached.
shapu, Oct 11 2004
  

       They could be washed down the drain at any time. Part of the fun of the place, really.
Worldgineer, Oct 11 2004
  

       I've considered this quite carefully and I think it is actually feasible. Do it in Bulgaria, Estonia or Croatia, or even Latvia. I would favour Estonia. Of course have waivers, put it near an international airport (Tallin) and get Darryl Hannah to open it. I suppose it would help to have an abolsolute nutter as a manager for added press interest. I'm volunteering.
weedy, Nov 11 2004
  

       Good to see this one pop up again. I always envision a sea of diners all wearing swimming caps, just in case "tonight's the night..."
lostdog, Nov 11 2004
  

       Strangely enough, I just saw this happen -- though it was for comedic purpose and not intended to be an actual idea -- in the movie "The In-Laws" with Michael Douglas. I don't think I can watch movies anymore without thinking we here at the 1/2B did it first, better, or at the very least with more explosions.
AfroAssault, Dec 07 2004
  

       The movie "'Deep Rising" throws in a few oversize squid.
mensmaximus, Dec 07 2004
  

       I actually have an irrational fear of water tanks above my head, so this idea gives me the willies.[-]
Belfry, Dec 08 2004
  

       When I say irrational I mean I get nervous when I see the old fashioned high level toilet cisterns. They're maybe 5 gallons. So this is 20,000 times worse.
Belfry, Dec 08 2004
  

       Ay yi yi! I didn't bun it! Sorry...[+]
spacecadet, Dec 08 2004
  

       Did I actually read that as the water comes cascading in the head waiter runs over and locks the doors? As much as I love a nice life threatening situation followed by a party, gasping for breath and then having hors d'overs in wet clothing doesn't do much for me.   

       I also suspect that mixing a slurry of food, water, human body secretions and cutlery in a large pool of churning water might represent a huge health hazard. Its going to be hard to find underwriters for this one.
robgraham2, Dec 10 2004
  

       Attractive swimmers sloshing across the room and mingling with the silverware and wet formal dresses? Let me get my shots and I'll be right over.
spacer, Feb 07 2005
  

       Seriously?   

       Maybe the manager is a halfbaker.
DesertFox, Feb 07 2005
  

       I know this idea goes back farther than 2004 but it has ALWAYS been one of my favorites. One of the best, and rightfully so. [+]
Letsbuildafort, Jul 13 2016
  

       Thanks for the churn, [Letsbuildy].   

       I'm still trying to get a reservation.
Worldgineer, Jul 21 2016
  

       Boy, I must have missed this, or was in rehab, or was not speaking to anyone, or I might have simply not seen it. Yay. I gave it a +. A swell idea. (Hi Worldy)
blissmiss, Jul 21 2016
  

       Mingled in amongst all the fine print is this line:   

       "Please be aware that this establishment may host, at any time, with or without notice, a Halfbakery convention, pissup, meeting, rendezvous, or gathering of any size."
lurch, Jul 21 2016
  

       Look at all those great hb members from that time..... where are they now? Come back! Bring your jump leads.
xenzag, Jul 21 2016
  

       Didn't read all the responses, but I assume liability concerns, clothing rentals, yadda.   

       So obviously, this couldn't be an actual business open to the public in any litigious country. Too many risks.   

       But I like the idea of random catastrophe, or a special night where everything is extra awesome at random.
simpleknight, Jul 22 2016
  

       A culinary Poseidon Adventure. I'll drink to that. Heavily.
whatrock, Jul 22 2016
  

       Hot soup!   

       Coming through!   

       Watch out!   

       Hundred Thousand Gallons of Hot Soup!   

       Watch out! Coming through!
popbottle, Jul 23 2016
  
      
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