Unique Parksville restaurant offers ‘dine in the dark’ experience

Aim is to show customers what it’s like to be in a visually impaired person’s shoes

Lazare Hounnake-Adele brought an experience usually reserved for big cities to Parksville.

The Dark View Restaurant, a dine-in-the-dark experience, has now been open in Parksville for almost six months. Hounnake-Adele said it’s been a rewarding experience so far, but he’s excited for business to pick up in the summer.

Hounnake-Adele was a server at a similar restaurant in Vancouver, and wanted Vancouver Islanders to have the experience of ‘dining in the dark’. He says the point of the restaurant is for someone to experience what it’s like to be visually impaired.

He hopes visitors will leave the restaurant changed by the experience, and with more empathy and understanding for people who are visually impaired.

“It’s trying to be in the visually impaired person’s shoes for a couple of hours,” he said. “The idea behind this, it’s not just about business, it’s also the awareness for how people can have a better idea of what people with no vision go through.”

Hounnake-Adele, who is completely blind, says a vital part of the experience is a completely pitch-black dining experience. Nothing light-emitting is allowed — no cellphones or watches.

When you get to Dark View, you get to look at the food menu in the foyer outside of the dining room. You place your order in the light and are then guided by Hounnake-Adele into the dining area. Three-course dinners are priced at $45, while two-course dinners are $39.

If you need anything while seated, you’re instructed to call for your server.

“I usually do a little speech for them here before we head to the darkness, just to ensure them that everything is flat, there are no stairs. If they need help, I’m always there for them, you don’t need to remember my name — if you need help just yell, ‘I need help!’” he said. “You have to give them the information, so they can be comfortable.”

READ MORE: Canadians base travel choices on food more than Americans do: survey

Originally he was going to hire more service staff, but Hounnake-Adele said a combination of relatively slow business and a lack of visually-impaired servers made it difficult. For now, he’s the only server at the restaurant.

They’ve cut down to three days a week — Friday to Sunday from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. He said the experience so far has been rewarding, and that feedback has been positive, but that summer can’t come quick enough.

The restaurant is located at 731 Island Hwy E in Parksville. For information, call 250-586-2206.

cloe.logan@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Restaurants

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Parksville council members share views on affordable housing

Divergent opinions on responsibility, priorities

Massive early-morning blaze destroys unoccupied Nanoose Bay home

Firefighters from three departments called in to battle fire

Captain Dziadyk to end season with Oceanside Generals on high note

Qualicum Beach player is longest-serving player in team history

Petition underway to stop bylaw on homeless camping in Regional District of Nanaimo

‘Canadians are known for their meekness but this time we need to have a voice’

Qualicum Beach approves Pheasant Glen zoning amendment

Majority of residents who spoke at public hearing endorsed proposed amendment bylaw

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

Most Read