A new restaurant just opened in Paris. I realize that I could make that same seven-word statement every 15 minutes 24/7 without fear of being wrong, but this one has something that the city’s other restaurants don’t. Or rather it doesn’t have something that the others do: clothing.
At 8:15 pm on November 1, the anchor of the channel one Journal de 20 Heures, the most-watched TV news program in the country, announced that a nudist restaurant, called O’Naturel, would open in eastern Paris the following evening. The story reported that diners would be invited to leave their clothing in a locker room and enjoy a meal with nothing on but the heating system.
The cries of “Ewwwww!” were heard as far away as Warsaw, until the journalist reached the part of the report about “single-use disposable slipcovers.”
This was followed by a quieter, more diffuse but still clearly audible reverberation of male voices saying “Hmmm,” until the report concluded with the additional detail that the restaurant’s windows would be covered by opaque curtains.
So O’Naturel is now packing them in, and lending new meaning to the expression “The place to hang out.”
And joining the list of Parisian theme restaurants whose themes aren’t directly related to food. The two other best-known examples are Dans le Noir (“In the Dark”), a restaurant with blind waitstaff where diners eat in total darkness, conceived to build empathy for the visually impaired, and Le Café des Chats on Rue Sedaine, where cat-loving customers can eat in the company of a dozen felines who roam the premises at will.
This started me thinking: what other non-food concept could I cash in on? First I thought of a noisy restaurant to build empathy for the deaf, where the decibel level is so high you can’t hear yourself yell “Fire!” But we already have that. It’s called “Any Restaurant on a Major Street With the Windows Open During Rush Hour.”
A restaurant for snake lovers? A “White House Press Conference” restaurant that only offers creamed chipped beef, served in a salad spinner and delivered by drone?
Then it came to me: I’m going to combine all of the successful existing concepts. My restaurant will require diners to shed their clothes and then go through the entire meal in a pitch-black room full of cats. I’ll call it O’Chatunoir.
I’ll train the animals to be very quiet but also friendly, eager to jump up on people’s laps. For the menu, I’m thinking of specializing in soups and fondue. What could go wrong?
An album of David Jaggard’s comic compositions is now available for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music, for purchase (whole or track by track) on iTunes and Amazon, and on every other music downloading service in the known universe, under the title “Totally Unrelated.”
Note to readers: David Jaggard’s e-book Quorum of One: Satire 1998-2011 is available from Amazon as well as iTunes, iBookstore, Nook, Reader Store, Kobo, Copia and many other distributors.