One of these things is absolutely, definitely, 100% happening. And the other seems almost too bizarre to be true (and yet apparently is). But we have two apocalypse-themed news items to round up this morning, so let’s get at it shall we?
Tomorrow, in Dilworth Park, there’s going to be a zombie skate at the Rothman ice rink. And at some point in the future (like possibly this spring), Mad Rex–an apocalypse theme restaurant and virtual reality experience–will be opening in Fishtown.
So let’s start with what’s happening tomorrow. As was earlier mentioned by our friends on Ticket, in honor of Friday the 13th (and for those of you who like ice skating and zombies more than you do rare cask ales), the ice rink at Dilworth is going to be hosting a bunch of the zombies from Eastern State Penitentiary’s “Terror Behind The Walls” Halloween extravaganza from 7pm to 11pm.
Now on the one hand, yes. That’s a little strange. Especially if it’s something you just kinda stumble on, not knowing what to expect. Or if you unknowingly bring the kids down for some ice skating or whatever. But on the other hand? Ice skating zombies sounds AWESOME. They’re also promising zombie-themed food specials at the Rothman Cabin, though aren’t really providing any details. Insert obvious brains… joke here.
Okay, so with that out of the way, there’s also this. Yesterday, Philly.com wrote about a new restaurant coming to Fishtown called Mad Rex. It’s going to be, for lack of a more artful term, an end-of-the-world theme restaurant offering, and I’m quoting here, “[a] post-apocalyptic dining experience” complete with an in-house butcher station, open kitchen, outdoor patio and fire pits, a stage for live music, and a “unique VR experience” to allow diners/guests/customers (words are failing me a little bit here…) to experience a little bit of the apocalypse for themselves. It’ll be going into a space at 1000 Frankford Avenue, right next to the Fillmore.
The name Mad Rex is a bit of an acronym, standing for “Restaurant Entertainment Xperience.” And while saying that out loud might make me shudder more than a little bit out of revulsion at what terrors theme restaurants, in the past, have wrought, I’m withholding judgement right now because I am a science fiction nerd of the old-school variety and I am honestly curious about what kind of kicks this place can offer. Am I worried that the website looks like something designed for a failing indoor paintball arena (including a “tour” featuring clip art and images ripped off from movies and videogames)? Yes. Does it concern me that the company website used in the “info@” email address doesn’t appear to exist? Also yes. And does this line of teaser copy leave me concerned about the ultimate viability of the project?
Because this is the first location of its kind, we’re sorry to say the Mad Rex must maintain a bit of mystery. Prepare for a unique experience, full of surprise & excitement, as the Mad Rex will be something you have never seen before.
Yes, it does. Especially when paired with the claim that Mad Rex is one of two concepts this company is trying to bring to Philadelphia, the other one being called Urban EEL (for “Entertainment Eatery Lounge”).
But I am also a little bit excited because I’m a fan of anyone who gets some wild idea and then just runs with it, full-speed. Because everything about this place seems certifiably, balls-out crazy, and crazy is just what I like. And because seriously? It was only a matter of time before someone out there came up with the idea for a virtual reality apocalypse-themed live music venue, restaurant and butcher shop, so if it had to happen somewhere, I’m glad it’s happening here.
I kinda can’t wait to go.
Mad Rex [Official]