Opening on September 20th, Dark Table will be the first blind restaurant in Vancouver. The owner, Moe Alameddine, has already opened two others in Canada with his company O. Noir, in Montreal back in 2006 and in Toronto in 2009.
The concept came from Switzerland, where the visually impaired Jorge Spielmann had the idea of blindfolding his customers in order to allow them the experience of eating as a blind person might.
Alameddine, a former fast food industry business man, opened his first restaurant in Montreal where he had to learn a good deal about setting up such a restaurant.
The restaurant to be opened in Vancouver, like Alameddine’s other outfits, will have a good portion of staff being visually impaired people. Blind waiters will guide guests in their experience.
The Vancouver restaurant will be located on West 4th Avenue at Trafalgar St. It will be a 75 seat outfit.
The experience is definitely unique and will be a bit of a role reversal for those guests with sight. With total darkness, save a small exit light glow, the diners will have to trust their other senses, and their servers.
The concept is actually quite popular and restaurants across the globe using this concept have begun to spring up. Both the Toronto and Montreal sites usually require reservations and it is expected that the same will be true in Vancouver.
Alameddine chose Vancouver as his third opening city because of its beauty and openness to new things. As most Vancouver realtors know this is often what attracts buyers to the Kitsilano real estate market as well.
Aside from the uniqueness of the experience, the restaurant also helps provide an opportunity for employment for blind people, whose unemployment rate in the province is somewhere between 65-70 percent.