I don’t usually highlight restaurants, especially those I’ve found on business trips, but this one is different. The Safe House dining experience in Milwaukee is one of the most unique, and fun, dining experiences you will ever enjoy.
Since 1966, the Safe House has been giving refuge to diners on the run in a cross between dinner theater and fun house. Posing as the International Exports Ltd. on Front Street in Milwaukee, you will never see a sign for the Safe House, instead it’s only for those “in the know.”
I knew nothing about the Safe House when we showed up at a deserted alleyway with the inconspicuous entrance before us. The only signage was a small plaque that read “International Exports Ltd.” Connecting the theme, I got it right away but I didn’t know what else was in store for us.
Not just a themed restaurant, the folks at the Safe House take the espionage business very seriously and diners don’t get any breaks. The front room is a small, nondescript area with a single receptionist manning the desk. No where in sight is anything resembling a restaurant. Immediately guests are asked for the password, but don’t worry if you don’t know it, there’s another option. I won’t tell you what the other option is, but no one is really turned away from the Safe House. Once you’ve satisfied the receptionist, a secret door opens and the fun begins.
Inside nothing is as it seems, doors marked as restrooms are dead ends and finding the real bathrooms can be a bit of a challenge. Diners are encouraged to explore the restaurant while waiting for dinner, and it’s well worth the time. The press of a well hidden button will start walls moving, hidden doorways appear out of nowhere and buzzers go off without warning.
The food itself is fine, pretty decent actually, but that’s not the draw. The real draw is an engaging, but not corny, dining experience and one of the most unique meals you will ever have. Leaving is just as difficult as entering and it takes some real deduction to find one of the exits.
While parts of the experience may be a little over the top, there are many hidden secrets which I can’t reveal, but which make the evening a lot of fun and absolutely memorable. So if you ever find yourself in the great city of Milwaukee, be sure to seek asylum at the Safe House.