As we drove in the van this weekend Leo spotted a billboard
for the current MegaBall Monster Enormo Super Jackpot total of $178 million
dollars. “Man… I sure would like to win
the lottery. I could finally make my
dream come true of owning a bar. Then I
could have it fail and move onto the next thing to fail at.” This was a moment of pure self awareness in
that not only did he know the bar would end in spectacular failure but he would
move on undeterred to his next epic misadventure. There was one problem with his daydream
though. $175 million would be difficult
to run through with a single location bar.
This was when the true brainstorm hit.
As anyone that has engaged in a 15-20 minute “shit talk”
portion of Leo’s day knows, he has a wobbly plan for what he would do if he
owned a bar/restaurant. The quick pitch
is this: Mephisto’s, a place that
combines casual dining with magic. The
dining room would feature waiters/waitresses that doubled as magicians. Diners would make an order and eat in between
frequent interruptions of magic tricks at their table from the server. The logo and branding would focus on a
hairless cat named Mephisto, which was never made clear to me on how it tied
into magic. In addition to the main
restaurant area, there would be a gift shop area which would have an unusual
amount of cat products interspersed with magic kits. The concept was refined while driving around
in Europe last Fall, at which point led Christoph to freak out and announce “I
would burn that place to the ground the moment it opened.” Christoph’s contention that magic and eating
a meal have no place being mixed and would only be annoying did have a cold logic
to it, though I will admit burning the restaurant to the ground seemed a harsh
It was quickly concluded that $175 million would enable Leo
to launch a 25-30 market grand opening simultaneously. The grand plan gained steam quickly. Mephisto’s with this much initial capital
would be able to be much more than just a cat restaurant with second rate
magician servers. It would be, in Leo’s
words, “anything you want it to be”.
Mephisto’s would offer happy hour bar specials in the lounge. There would be a sand volleyball court. Sushi bar.
Live entertainment. Indoor water
park. Quiet areas for more intimate
dining. A dance club. A sports bar.
Topless dance. Laser tag. Bourbon tastings. Children’s birthday parties. Microbrewery.
Breakfast. Bowling. Wine bar.
Mechanical bull. Burlesque. Hot tubs.
Puppet shows. All you can eat
crab legs. Tacos. Heavy metal music festivals. Book clubs.
Dart leagues. Tiki bar. It’s all there done simultaneously.
I pointed out to Leo that with the sheer square footage
necessary for such a sweeping vision that he might run into trouble finding suitable
locations. This is when the obvious idea
of creating different types of Mephisto’s took flight based on the available
location. Each level of Mephisto’s would
be put into an extremely confusing grid to theoretically help consumers
understand the variety of options available at each Mephisto’s. For example, the “Mephisto’s Gold” located in
Myrtle Beach would have a water park, live music area, strip club, chapel,
pizzeria, ramen, Kids Korner and video poker machines. Meanwhile a “Mephisto’s Deluxe” by the
Orlando Airport would have an indoor waterpark, horseshoe pits, Medeval
jousting, taco bar, upscale French restaurant, sake bar, and “adults only
erotic playground”. See? It’s quite simple.
Each Mephisto’s would be created by Leo on site with
whatever whim he had at particular moment.
They would all have a vaguely similar look with the hairless cat and
annoying roving second rate magicians, but each would have an ever changing
list of features. This would be
supported with an enormous advertising campaign that would have the vibe of a
family fun park with a light rock jingle.
“Go to mephitsto’s…. Mephisto’s place for ribs!” Enter announcer for tag
line “Mephisto’s is anything you want it to be!
All week 25 cent wings at the martini bar. Wednesday don’t miss a special Jenna Jameson
feature at Mephisto’s After Dark!
Thursday Bachman Turner Overdrive.
Friday sand volleyball leagues are forming now! And all week long 24 hour breakfast! Get your Mephisto’s Lucky Savers Club card in
the gift shop and accrue points for discounts on magic kits purchased any
Mon-TH online! Shipping costs not
included. Enter to win a ride on the Mephisto’s
jet! And don’t forget our 3 for 2 Happy
Hour! Mephisto’s! Anything you want it to be! (back to jingle) Go to Mephisto’s… Mephisto’s place to dance!”
I think, God willing, if Leo can win that lottery jackpot we
can get that money spent and have those clubs folded up within 18 months. But what an 18 months it would be…