By Richard Varr
It looked like any other restaurant table. But when I started eating my Eggs Benedict one June morning in family-fun Branson, Missouri, I soon noticed my breakfast was almost in my face. YIKES! My table had apparently risen to my neck – I felt like a baby in a highchair. And when I asked, “What’s the deal with this table?” all I got were a few laughs from my server and staff.
As it turns out, I experienced the so-called Rising Table at McFarlain’s Family Restaurant, where staff and fellow patrons love to play a practical joke on customers – including me.
“When the food hits the table, we turn on the hydraulics and it gradually rises as you eat,” says restaurant general manager Jason Roberts. “Most people are usually too busy eating and don’t recognize it until it’s kind of up to your chin as they’re shoveling it in. They look underneath the chair to see what’s going on.”
That’s exactly what I did, as I was looking for maybe a switch to turn it off. I didn’t find anything, but did notice the table’s central metal support rod had a rising inner extension, reminding me of a hydraulic lift in a car repair shop.
“They usually notice when it’s risen six or seven inches. They’ll think their chair is shrinking,” adds Roberts. “The server will finally have to ask if they need a highchair because they’re not getting it. That’s even funnier. They’ll say, ‘Oh my gosh it did rise, we had no idea.’”
Those who can laugh off the joke get a “Certificate of Membership” to McFarlain’s Rising Table Society. Located in Branson’s IMAX Complex, the restaurant has five such tables – two downstairs and three upstairs. And yes, they look like normal tables.
So if you come to McFarlain’s for its home-cooking or country breakfasts, be wary of where you sit. “The excitement is the unknown,” says Roberts. “At most places, you’d never expect your table to rise. It’s quite shocking to people who’ve never had it, and once the joke’s been played on them, they try to bring in friends and get a good laugh at their expense.”
“A lot of people come to Branson for something unique, and we offer a little piece of that.”
For more information: www.bransonimax.com
Getting to Branson
Newly developed Branson Airport is believed to be the largest privately-owned commercial airport in the country. Three airlines – Air Tran, Frontier and Branson Air Express – offer nonstop flights from Houston, Atlanta, Orlando, Baltimore/Washington, Chicago, Denver, Austin and Nashville.
Carved atop Ozark foothills, the airport opened in May 2009 after an estimated 12 million cubic yards of earth was moved to flatten the mountaintops to create a runway, taxiway and terminal area.
For more Information: www.flybranson.com