NEW YORK -- Just when you thought it was safe to visit Times
Square comes word that Martians are moving in.
An Irish firm said it is building a 400-seat theme restaurant
near Times Square that simulates a trip to the red planet. Mars
2112 will be located in a 35,000-square-foot space at 1633 Broadway
at 51st Street. The $12 million restaurant, which is scheduled to
open in July, will feature a 200-seat Martian-themed microbrewery,
shops selling Martian memorabilia and galactic entertainment.
Before sitting down to their meals, visitors will be taken on a
five-minute simulated journey to Mars aboard a 22-seat spaceship
that travels through a worm hole, visits the Mir space station and
lands on the moon.
Paschal Phelan, chairman of the Kilkenny, Ireland-based Mars
2112 Group Ltd., said he owns real estate and meat processing
interests in Ireland, the U.K. and eastern Europe. He said he came
up with the idea for Mars 2112 after market research revealed that
the public was losing its appetite for theme restaurants that
served poor-quality food and offered little to do while waiting for
Food industry and restaurant analysts say that across the
country, developers of theme restaurants are scaling back plans to
build so-called dinnertainment venues. The analysts report that the
more successful theme restaurants are those in very large, densely
populated areas that have significant tourist attractions -- places
such as New York, Las Vegas and Orlando, Fla.
"Our motto is 'You come for the experience and you come back for
the food,' " Phelan said. Instead of the ubiquitous chicken fingers
and chili burgers, Mars 2112 will serve up "universal fusion
cooking," including Thai-style sushi, Asian chicken salads and
grilled sesame-crusted pork chops, Phelan said. Entrees will be
priced under $14, with the average dinner tab totaling under $20
per person, including drinks, he said.
Phelan said Mars 2112 will benefit from the expertise of
seasoned professionals, including chief executive officer Steven
Micheletti, formerly with the Rain Forest Cafe chain; general
manager Michael Hocter, formerly with the All-Star Cafe in Times
Square, and executive chef Steven Goodwin, formerly with California
Cafe in the Napa Valley. The restaurant was designed by Daroff
Design in Philadelphia.
Related link: Daroff Design.