Created on: February 07, 2013 Last Updated: February 18, 2013
We might have thought that Barbie mania had reached a new height in the 1990s, but now it seems to have become even more extreme. Sinlaku, a restaurant chain which operates franchises in Taipei, Taiwan, has just opened a Barbie-themed restaurant, says
CNN reporter Hiufu Wong. Sinlaku also runs the 1-year-old Hello Kitty Dreams restaurant, which is slightly more expensive but has actually received some negative reviews by online critics.
In some ways, it's actually amazing that a Barbie-themed restaurant has taken this long to develop. The Barbie franchise dates back to the 1950s, when American-born Ruth Handler created the doll in order to give her daughter and other young children a viable alternative to baby dolls. American toy company Mattel liked the idea, and the Barbie doll quickly began selling nearly as well as sliced bread, eventually becoming a multi-million dollar per year international franchise. Restaurants have also been included in everything from Barbie playsets to some of the Barbie video games. A 1990s NES game features Barbie having to throw various pieces of her charm bracelet in order to stop everything from psychotic malt shakes to seemingly possessed ice cream scoops and flying uncooked pizza dough, just to name a few of the in-game threats. However, it goes without saying that customers will not be expected to face such fury while relaxing in the Barbie-themed restaurant.
Complete with the signature Barbie shades of pink, magenta and white, the world's first Barbie restaurant appears to grant the illusion of being trapped inside a Barbie Dream House. Furniture and accessories are designed to look like stiletto heels, tutus and even bustiers. Chandeliers are shaped to look like tea sets and, of course, Barbie dolls and the brand's signature logo permeate the venue's atmosphere. Also included is a life-sized reproduction of a Barbie doll package, in which restaurant customers can pretend to be Barbie dolls and have their photographs taken. Waiters and waitresses dress like Barbie and Ken, though the credibility of this effect is considered questionable by at least one writer.
Prices of main courses at the Barbie Café begin at roughly the equivalent of $8 (USD) per item, slightly cheaper than the $14 items offered by the Hello Kitty restaurant. The menu, which was created by professional nutritionists, lists the caloric content of each item. Offerings include such things as hazelnut tiramisu, Philadelphia steak salad, salmon salad, chicken toast box and macaroons in martini glasses. The restaurant also offers Barbie 128, a pink specialty beverage whose name is derived partly from the restaurant's address.
Sinlaku plans to open a second Barbie restaurant in Taichung and possibly a third in Shanghai.
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