Pop-Up for a Cause

Pop-up dining experience makes Dallas debut — and it's an eye-opener

Pop-up dining experience makes Dallas debut — and it's an eye-opener

Blind Cafe Room
Simple seating makes it as easy as possible for ambassadors and audience members to navigate the dining room. Photo courtesy of the Blind Cafe

Dinner and a concert: It’s the perfect combo of food and music to delight the senses. Now, imagine you’ve lost one of those senses — namely, your sense of sight. That’s what the Blind Cafe seeks to imitate for sighted diners at its various pop-up locations around the U.S., and it’s coming to Dallas for the first time June 16 through 18.

Without their sense of sight, participants must trust the legally blind ambassadors to help them find a seat in the pitch-black dining room at the start of the evening. Diners then rely on their sense of touch to ascertain what’s on the table as they begin their meal. And don't worry, the crew is good-natured about it; you won’t encounter piping-hot soup or steaming lasagna when you reach for your plate. They can't guarantee you won't spill a bit on your clothes though.

“In the Blind Cafe, we create an environment that pushes the guests from their comfort zones, challenges them to be more present, aware, and connected, however they’re engaging in the dark,” says founder Rosh Rocheleau. Part of that engagement includes a Q&A session with blind ambassadors, which is designed to help the audience connect with members of the blind community on a more meaningful level.

The musical performance that follows dinner is also cloaked in darkness, and the anonymity of the experience allows attendees to enjoy the melodies without worrying about the other people in the room — or being embarrassed by an emotional reaction to the performance. By all accounts, the evening is deeply moving. 

The Blind Cafe will celebrate its Dallas debut June 16 through June 18, at 1321 Valwood Pkwy., in Carrollton. Tickets start at $85; there are two dinners per night.