Tickets to dine on Nova Scotia’s ocean floor sell out in 2 minutes

A Nova Scotia restaurant has to do a lot more than just set out clean tableware for each new round of guests that dines on the bottom of Cobequid Bay.

For a limited time each summer, The Flying Apron Inn and Cookery in Summerville, N.S., serves lunch and dinner to guests on the ocean floor using the six-hour window when the tide is out and the bottom of the bay is exposed.

Each dining service requires a “huge effort,” including lugging tables, chairs, barbecues, coolers and food and drinks onto and off the beach as the tide ebbs and flows, said co-owner Melissa Velden.

The dining-on-the-ocean-floor experience will be offered on five dates this July and August, and the whole season sold out within two minutes of opening Monday morning.

“We never thought that from the beginning it would take off the way it has,” said Velden.

Melissa Velden had 87 voicemails within two minutes of opening reservations for this summer’s dining-on-the-ocean-floor events. (CBC)

“But yeah, it’s captured the imaginations of people from all over the world.”

Customers from Iowa, South Carolina, New Brunswick and Ontario flooded the phone lines looking for tickets to the coveted experience, which includes lobster, local wine, a foraging tour and a bonfire.

Shortly after the event wraps, the outdoor dining room is flooded with ocean water 16 metres high.

The outdoor restaurant sets up in Burntcoat Head provincial park on the Noel Shore, an area that holds the record for the world’s highest tides.

Tourism Nova Scotia pitched the idea to Chris and Melissa Velden six years ago. The restaurateurs put on the event and the province does marketing and promotion.

Chef Chris Velden says setting up a restaurant on the ocean floor requires a lot of juggling but allows for the creation of ‘something special.’ (CBC)

The first year, the Veldens charged $300 per couple, but they didn’t turn a profit. The price tag this year is about $1,300 per couple, which Chris Velden said might be “too cheap.”

“Now I don’t know where the limit is because we’re selling out in a minute,” he said.

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