Route 66’s Newest Attraction: A Subterranean All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

Route 66 just got one its more unusual additions in recent years: The newly opened Cavern Grotto sits 210 feet below the surface of the destination known officially as Grand Canyon Caverns in Peach Springs, Arizona. The attraction — a system of caves located along Route 66, near the titular national park space — already offers one of the world’s deepest hotels. The owner of the complex, John McEnulty, dreamed up the restaurant addition while dining at Disneyland’s Blue Bayou Restaurant (a themed space that works its design brief to the nth degree). 

McEnulty had some big advantages in making is daydream a reality: a small space just off the main cave but not currently on his property’s cave tour, and one easily accessible by elevator.

Guests dine on an elevated platform that seats 16 diners at four tables. Food is prepared at ground level, and then dropped down to the seating area by bucket — then farther down, by elevator, to a space below the raised platform, and then up to the platform, by pulley — a complicated system. Elsewhere, though, he makes it easy on the diners: Both lunch and dinner are available at a fixed price of $49.95 and $69.95, respectively.

That might sound pricey, but two things to note: Cave tour included — and it’s all you can eat.