Dinner with a ghost: Exploring haunted restaurants around the globe

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Ever had a meal that was so good that you contemplated haunting the chef from the afterlife? Or perhaps you experienced such terrible service that you thought about coming back as a poltergeist just to cause some chaos. While no one knows for sure what caused these restaurants to achieve their spooky status, one thing is for certain: you’ll need a strong stomach if you want to dine at these ghoulish eateries.

A ghostly figure of a young girl in a vintage dress stands among people dining in a dimly lit, elegant restaurant.
From apparitions in the kitchen to boos with your booze, these haunted restaurants are not for the faint of heart.

The infamous Keg Mansion in Toronto, Canada

Yes, you read that correctly: beloved steakhouse chain The Keg operates one location out of a haunted Canadian mansion in downtown Toronto. The house, owned by one of Toronto’s most respected families, fell under a mysterious shadow when the head of the family, Lilian Massey, passed away. Shortly after, Massey’s maid took her own life by hanging herself near one of the mansion’s grand staircases.

Today, Keg staff swear that they have glimpsed traces of Massey’s maid from time to time. When they’re walking through the restaurant or closing down for the night, they’ve noticed flashes of movement out of the corner of their eyes. Legend has it that Massey’s maid can occasionally be seen hanging from the second floor, but only for a moment in this downtown Toronto gem. 

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Smuggler shenanigans abound at the Marsden Grotto Restaurant in England

Even if it weren’t haunted, travelers would likely flock to the Marsden Grotto Restaurant in coastal South Shields, England, which is tucked away inside a cave that was blasted into a seaside cliff in 1782. Perhaps even more remarkable are the events that diners have reported witnessing inside Marsden Grotto: allegedly, ashtrays have flown across the room or smashed into walls. There has also been at least one report of the restaurant’s cellar being flooded with beer after the restaurant’s beer taps were all turned on.

According to local history, the ghost of Jack the Jibber, a notorious smuggler, might be responsible for these mysterious events. As the story goes, Jack the Jibber earned the wrath of his fellow criminals when he sold information to His Majesty’s Customs. The other smugglers punished him harshly for his transgression: they hung Jack in a barrel in a cave and left him to starve with not even a chicken pot pie casserole. If that story can be believed, it’s no wonder that the site of happy diners now seems to make Jack’s ghost a little cranky.

The ghostly staff that haunt Brennan’s in New Orleans, United States

Can you imagine being haunted by the ghost of your boss? Reportedly, this iconic restaurant in New Orleans is haunted by the ghosts of not one but two former employees: chef Paul Blangé and sommelier Herman Funk. 

Chef Paul Blangé helped put Brennan’s on the map when he invented Bananas Foster, a classic New Orleans dish in which bananas are flambéed tableside, coated in sweet syrup and served over ice cream. When Blangé passed away in 1977, he was reportedly buried with the restaurant’s menu, a knife and a fork across his chest. To this day, it’s said that he can be heard banging pots and pans as the restaurant’s doors are locked at the end of the night.

But Chef Blangé isn’t the only ghost that haunts Brennan’s. The restaurant’s servers say that sommelier Herman Funk has occasionally chimed in with his preferred wine choices from the afterlife. Funk, who was instrumental in helping Brennan’s develop its world-class alcohol selection, has passed away — but his ghost allegedly still helps out servers now and again by clinking bottles in the wine cellar.

Hong Kong’s haunted Murray House

Murray House, built by the British in the nineteenth century as officer’s quarters for a nearby military barracks, has a tragic history. In 1941, Murray House became a military headquarters that included jail cells, torture chambers and execution grounds. Thousands of Hong Kong residents were killed there. After the war, Murray House eventually became a government building — but then the reports of ghostly activity started pouring in.

Civil servants claimed to have witnessed the presence of ghosts in the old building, and some even promised to leave their positions if nothing was done. For example, when documents were left out to dry, they would mysteriously go missing or become inexplicably smeared and modified. Other reports mentioned equipment breaking down. In response, the government conducted two exorcisms with the help of Buddhist monks: one in 1963 and one in 1974. The exorcisms seem to have been effective since the ghost activity has now ceased.

In the 1980s, Murray House was disassembled and moved to Stanley, a residential district in Hong Kong. Murray House is now home to a seafood and tapas restaurant, which means that anyone can now visit to check out potential ghost activity for themselves. Have the ghosts moved along with the building, or did the exorcisms allow them to let go and pass on? Only time will tell.

Beware of these eerie eateries

For those diners who have now completely lost their appetites, worry not: most restaurants are not, in fact, haunted. And even these ghosts are so elusive that you might be able to visit any of these restaurants without even noticing any signs of ghoulish activity. 

Are you really brave enough to dine where a translucent maid from the afterlife may hang above you in the air? Maybe not. So if you do end up at any of these restaurants around dinnertime, see if they’ll let you opt for takeout.

Zuzana Paar is the creative force behind her websites Low Carb No Carb, and Best Clean Eating. As a content creator, food recipe developer, blogger and photographer, Zuzana brings diverse skills to the table with a dedication to sharing delicious, healthy recipes and helpful tips with the readers.

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