Created By: NoirGrimoir on January 8, 2012 Last Edited By: NoirGrimoir on February 3, 2013

Enchanting Eatery

A small restaurant with great food and service where they know you by name, often a semi-magical hidden gem of the city.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Any one of various small restaurant-type establishments, including bistros, cafes, diners or taverns, where characters unwind and let their cares be swept away in the company of wonderful people. It's an oasis away from the bustle of the outside world, sometimes with a strange, magical quality, or just outright magic.

Often these cafes are run by a small group of interesting characters who are active in the troubles and triumphs of the protagonist, or the protagonist him or herself runs it. Usually these restaurants are modest and set out of the way of the main street, the nondescript entrance possibly in an alleyway or little used side-road. Sometimes it's a one of those Little Shops That Wasn't There Yesterday, and conveniently appeared when you were at your most lonesome or troubled.

It's patrons are often few, but they tend to be pretty unique. These Enchanting Eateries tend to draw the supernatural or supernaturally draw the people who need it most. And there's just something about the people there, the food, the drinks and the atmosphere that ensures they'll be back.

A Setting Trope. The Inn Between the Worlds is often one of these.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Casetta Dell'orso, the restaurant in Ristorante Paradiso. A small, hidden restaurant run my a group of kind, older men and where the plot revolves around and the protagonist finds her home.
  • The titular establishment of The Tarot Cafe, a little cafe that draws in those inflicted with supernatural problems and they tell the owner their tales.
  • Sasakura Ryuu's small, hidden bar in Bartender, where people's problems are swept away by The Bartender who is a genius drink mixer who can make "The Glass Of God."

Film
  • In 'The Baxter' (2005), the "hidden gem" burger restaurant where Bradley takes Sherman and Caroline and where you have to be familiar with the staff -- there's not even a menu, and everyone acts like old friends... except for poor Sherman, the outsider.

Literature
  • Carlos's Bar in Sandman Slim that somehow managed to becomes the hang out for the supernatural after Stark began frequenting it after saving the owner's business and being promised free everything for life.
  • Charlie's restaurant in Sunshine which doubles as a Family Business. It has a cozy atmosphere where everyone knows everyone, in the old part of town just a bit off the beaten road. It attracts a lot of interesting patrons, some of whom are magic and is where the protagonist herself works.
  • Callahan's Crosstime Saloon. It's more of a bar than a restaurant, but they do serve food from time to time.
  • Labyrinths of Echo got "Juffin's Dozen" -- the restaurant where local nobles, widely known heroes and other normally noteworthy folk can appear with their own faces are be treated like any common client, without anyone staring at anyone. It doesn't even have a sign: the regular visitors are brought to the place by their friends, and the owner doesn't need more, since there's only a dozen of small tables (plus one permanently reserved for the eponymous benefactor).

Live-Action TV
  • The Pie Hole in Pushing Daisies. The protagonist owns the shop and makes the pies himself. How are the pies so fresh? He has the unique ability to make dead things come back to life, which comes in handy solving mysteries. His first case and most character development takes place in the shop.
  • It's the basic premise of Cheers. Early seasons occur exclusively in the bar. The theme song even talks about how it's a place to get away.
Community Feedback Replies: 27
  • January 8, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    It wasn't peanuts. Slim has Your Money Is No Good Here at that place.
  • January 8, 2012
    Duncan
    Callahans Crosstime Saloon would likely count. It's more of a bar than a restaurant, but they do serve food from time to time.
  • January 8, 2012
    Cerrida
    The Pie Hole in Pushing Daisies. The protagonist owns the shop and makes the pies himself. How are the pies so fresh? He has the unique ability to make dead things come back to life, which comes in handy solving mysteries. His first case and most character development takes place in the shop.
  • January 8, 2012
    NoirGrimoir
    If anyone has a better name, be my guest to suggest one. It's basically a 'smallish restaurant type place.' Bars and coffee-shops count.
  • January 8, 2012
    elwoz
    The Inn Between The Worlds is often one of these.
  • January 8, 2012
    randomsurfer
  • January 9, 2012
    Chabal2
    Coffee of Doom in Questionable Content.
  • January 9, 2012
    NoirGrimoir
    Can you guys give me a little more context on those?
  • January 10, 2012
    undefined
    • Labyrinths Of Echo got "Juffin's Dozen" -- the restaurant where local nobles, widely known heroes and other normally noteworthy folk can appear with their own faces are be treated like any common client, without anyone staring at anyone. It doesn't even have a sign: the regular visitors are brought to the place by their friends, and the owner doesn't need more, since there's only a dozen of small tables (plus one permanently reserved for the eponymous benefactor).
  • January 11, 2012
    ladygem
    Would the Leaky Cauldron in Harry Potter count? It's run by a wizard, and is the main entrance to Diagon Ally, the Wizard part of London, but other than that, it's just a pub, and the wizards themselves see it as rather mundane.
  • January 11, 2012
    NoirGrimoir
    Mmm, I don't think so. It doesn't really serve as a central place for characters to show up int he story, neither is it described as being especially homey or friendly.
  • January 11, 2012
    Psychobabble6
    ^^^^ It's the basic premise of Cheers. Early seasons occur exclusively in the bar (at least as far as I know - ask a more dedicated fan). The theme song even talks about how it's a place to get away.
  • January 11, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Making your way in the world today / takes everything you got
    Taking a break from all your worries / sure would help a lot
    Wouldn't you like to get away?
    Sometimes you wanna go
    Where everybody knows your name
    And they're always glad you came
    You wanna be where you can see
    Troubles are all the same
    You wanna go where everybody knows your name
    --Cheers' Theme Song
  • January 16, 2012
    SorciaMacNasty
    Film: In 'The Baxter' (2005), the "hidden gem" burger restaurant where Bradley takes Sherman and Caroline and where you have to be familiar with the staff -- there's not even a menu, and everyone acts like old friends... except for poor Sherman, the outsider.
  • January 21, 2012
    surgoshan
    • Atomic Laundromat showcases a dark version of this, with an evil short-order cook who mind-controls his patrons into agreeing their meals were good, and what they ordered.
  • January 21, 2012
    Westrim
    I don't think Coffee of Doom is an example beyond the main characters. In fact, part of its appeal is the contempt with which it treats its clientele, especially if Faye is serving them. So perhaps it's an aversion.

  • January 22, 2012
    TBeholder
    Restaurant For Regulars?
  • February 5, 2012
    Westrim
    I don't remember the name of it, but there's a restaurant mentioned several times on Sanctuary for its superb food, but only Magnus has the connections to get in so it's a subject of much desire to her subordinates. Getting there is part of the plot for several different episodes.
  • February 5, 2012
    LittleLizard
    Live Action TV
    • In Castle, there is the Old Haunt. A completely out of place tavern in the modern manhattan, with an incredibly long history, lots of secrets and a feel from another time that charms writers to go there.
  • February 18, 2012
    TBeholder
    ...because aiming for regulars seems to be the point.
  • February 26, 2012
    Westrim
    bump
  • February 26, 2012
    Rognik
    @Westrim: Coffee of Doom prepares their own beans, so the coffee probably is better, but the surly service gives it that little charm. But if the coffee shop doesn't count, I'm pretty sure the bakery would. I just can't remember its name now.
  • February 26, 2012
    benjamminsam
    I think the laconic needs to be tightened up; it's wordy and I think it does a worse job conveying the nature of the trope than the extended description. But I just sat here writing and rewriting for 10 minutes and didn't come up with anything better. I just think this needs to be defined in more absolute terms before it launches.
  • March 5, 2012
    TBeholder
    ^^ "Juffin's Dozen" is also described as attractive because the owner is gruffy and looks like he's about to strike someone with a soup ladle if he thinks their order is in a bad taste. Which appeals at least to the big fish more than overeager service and excess of attention they get elsewhere.

    Which is why i proposed another name above: features vary, but the common point is that an establishment mostly caters to regulars rather than to general public.
  • June 10, 2012
    TBeholder
    what, it's abandoned?
  • February 1, 2013
    Westrim
    Bumping.
  • February 3, 2013
    Westrim
    This looks like it needs a little more work before it can be launched. I'm thinking about T Beholders title suggestion and tightening up the description.
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