Just when many restaurants are turning the lights back on, DiAnoia’s Eatery in the Strip District is getting ready to go dark.
In June, the Italian restaurant at 2549 Penn Ave. plans to host Pitch Black, a series of dining-in-the-dark meals. The event is organized by Hidden Media Network, an Australian company that specializes in immersive experiences such as The Brick Bar, a Lego-themed pop-up lounge that came to Pittsburgh in 2020.
Fifty patrons per session will enter a bright room before being seated and blindfolded as the lights are dimmed. DiAnoia’s, which will adhere to all Covid regulations, is providing the food and beverages, but the menu is shrouded in mystery. Dietary requirements and allergies can be addressed when guests sign up. Vegetarian and vegan options will be available.
Tickets are $80 per person and include a three-course meal and one drink over a 90-minute period. A live host will entertain guests with games and challenges centered around sensory experiences.
If you need to escape the shadowy feast for any reason, a waiter will guide you to a lighted area outside the dining room.
“You may wonder what the benefits are, but the absence of distractions promotes the idea that eating in the dark heightens diners’ senses, making for a more pleasurable experience,” says Shelley Allen, Hidden Media Network’s communications director. “The focus is instead on taste, smell, mouthfeel and sound, as well as promoting the art of conversation.”
Folks in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane have already enjoyed the blind tastings. Pittsburghers 18 and older will have the chance to experience Pitch Black on June 3 and 10. More dates may be added to meet demand.
“This will be a unique experience for us, and we’re having a lot of fun developing the menu,” said Tyler England, director of culinary operations for DiAnoia’s Eatery. “Guests will be dining ‘in the dark’ with few distractions, so the idea is that their full focus will be on savoring the flavors, aromas and textures of each of the dishes we put together.”
Hopefully, your hunger will outweigh your fear of the dark.