Almost two years ago, a blind pastor, Reverend Jorge Spielmann started a restaurant for the blind in the city of Zurich, in Switzerland. Almost all the chefs, bartenders and waitresses who worked at the Blind Cow, as the restaurant was named, were also blind.

Now, not just the blind, but even people who can see with their eyes flock to this restaurant for the unique experience it provides, apart from the good fare it dishes out.

Welcome to Blind Cow
Welcome to Blind Cow [Illustration by Shinod AP]

The idea came to Spielmann while he was working as a bartender at a public exhibit in 1998, reports The Indian Express. The exhibit was an experience for people with normal sight, as they were made to grope through pitch dark tunnels, along with blind people.

Spielmann converted an unused church into a 60-seat restaurant. The Blind Cow is decorated with stained glass windows. The reception is dimly lit with a spotlight over the heavy doors. Black curtains make the sitting area pitch dark and there are no lights.

Customers who can see, value their experience at the Blind Cow as it enables them to “see” a new dimension to the world, through the eyes of people with no sight but a great deal of vision.

There are other reasons why people like going to the restaurant. As no one can see what the others are doing, table manners are temporarily forgotten. Fingers tuck into the meat, the wrong forks are used with relish and people even wipe their mouths on their sleeves, instead of napkins!

Welcome to Blind Cow Restaurant

When customers arrive, they are ushered in by a waitress with bells attached to her toes. Forming a chain led by the waitress, with hands placed on each other’s shoulders, the customers walk inside.

Before entering the dining area, they are briefed on the rules of the restaurant – no wandering about, no smoking, no iridescent watches (those producing lustrous rainbow-like colours) and no flashlights.

If the customers want anything, they shout to attract the attention of the waitresses. Obviously, it’s a very noisy restaurant.

The bells on the waitresses toes help prevent them from bumping into each other while carrying dishes. Though they admit to some unavoidable bumps, the staff at the Blind Cow says that they they have no more breakages than at any other restaurant. Customers to the restaurant are extra careful not to knock things over.

The restaurant is so popular that beginning of March 2001, all the tables were booked for the entire month.