The rise of the modern speakeasy has given you plenty of options when you want a secretive drink, but what if you want a bite to eat somewhere sly? Not to be outdone by the underground libation outlets, the secret restaurant is alive and well in America. Here are 10 of the best we recommend checking out … if you can find their doors.
Chef Vola’s (Atlantic City, NJ)
To get into Chef Vola’s you have to be connected. Maybe know a guy who knows a guy. There are only 12 tables in the Italian joint located in the basement of a house in A.C., and procuring one is more than tricky. If you do happen to snag a reservation at the unmarked establishment, you’ll be met with photos of celebs on the walls and tremendous, classic Italian food on your plate. If you want more info, the password-protected website will be of little help. Link
Safe House (Milwaukee, WI)
Before it was cool to make your establishment secretive, there was Safe House in Milwaukee. For the last 40+ years, it’s been the secret restaurant. The entire experience is inspired by spy films and mysterious history. Even after you’ve found the unmarked door, you still need to know the password to get in. Luckily, if you don’t know the password, you can still complete a mission to gain access. Once inside, you’ll be met with a cell door from an actual KGB prison, a booth that hides you and your guests, and the option to have the Unique Martini which is shaken not stirred by traveling through a tube around the restaurant. Link
Fred’s Breakfast (New Hope, PA)
Chris and Ellen Bollenbacher are the owners of The Landing Restaurant, a restaurant in New Hope, PA with a fantastic view right on the water and a load of fans. Some of those fans know about their other venture, Fred’s Breakfast. The members only breakfast spot has just 31 seats and you’ll need a special key to get in. Named after their dog, Fred, Fred’s Breakfast serves up tasty baked goods you can down with cup after cup of coffee … if you’re lucky enough to have a key. Link
Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)
Do you crave mouth-watering beef and are up for a challenge? Totoraku is your spot. Known as the “secret beef restaurant,” Totoraku offers up raw and cooked beef unlike any you’ve had before. Unfortunately, they don’t have a website or Facebook page, and you need to know someone to get in. You could walk up to the door (it’s underneath a sign reading “The Teriyaki House Pico”), but you’ll probably be greated with a quick, “We’re full tonight.” It’s a hot spot for local chefs and celebs, and if you’re lucky enough to get a business card with the handwritten phone number, you might be able to snag a seat yourself.
Luksus (Brooklyn, NY)
Tucked away in one of our favorite beer bars in the country, Tørst, is a tiny eatery called Luksus. There are only 26 seats and it’s a simple tasting menu, but hot damn is it good. Daniel Burns, formerly of Noma and The Fat Duck, serves up snacks and bites with a strong Nordic lean that will go nicely with a glass of something from Evil Twin. Link
Vernon’s Hidden Valley Steakhouse (Los Ranchos, NM)
Should you find yourself in New Mexico with a hankering for some seriously good steak, Vernon’s Hidden Valley Steakhouse is your spot … assuming you can find it and you know the password which changes on a weekly basis. There’s no sign outside and when you knock (3 times) someone slides open a little window just like in the movies. Once you do get inside, however, you’re in steak heaven. It’s not cheap, but all-natural 21-day wet-aged beef shouldn’t be. Link
Club 33 (Anaheim, CA)
So you’re spending a few days at Disney and you’ve had your fair share of waiting in line and greasy food, where do you go? Club 33. Well, Club 33 if you happen to be able to get in. (Hint: You probably can’t.) The private club is located in the New Orleans Square section of Disneyland and is open to only 500 members. Want to become one of those members? Sure, you just have get lucky and spend 10+ years on a wait list. But, hey, you can get booze in there.
El Carajo (Miami, FL)
While many restaurants on this list are located behind an unmarked door, El Carajo has basically donned a fake mustache and put on a total disguise. You can find the tapas and wine spot at the BP gas station on 17th Ave and US 1. Inside the “Food Store & Deli,” you’ll be treated to 2,000 wines from all over the world and all the chorizo and ceviche you can handle. Link
Killer Poboys (New Orleans, LA)
If you want a po’ boy in New Orleans, you’ve got a lot of options. If you want a tasty one shrouded in mystery, get one at Killer Poboys. Located in the back of the Erin Rose Bar, Killer Poboys serves up unique po’ boys like a glazed pork belly version or a meatloaf one. Grab a drink at Erin Rose Bar and then soak up the booze with something from the back. Link
Bohemian (New York, NY)
There’s an unassuming butcher shop on Great Jones Street in a building that used to be owned by Andy Warhol where you’ll find a true hidden gem. Bohemian is a Japanese-inspired restaurant and bar that serves up tremendous cocktails, steak, and more in a zen-like atmosphere. Despite being highly rated, there’s no phone number and to get a reservation you have to email and basically plead your case. If you do get in, you can enjoy a $55, six-course tasting menu highlighted by some Washugyu beef sliders and a bunch of other specialties.