Dining with live scorpions sounds like something straight out of an episode of "Fear Factor," but the new scorpion table at Geronimo Tequila Bar & Southwest Grill in New Haven is becoming the hottest seat in the house.
The table in the restaurant's dining room, which debuted a few weeks ago, contains nine live female scorpions (devenomized, Geronimo partner Rob Bolduc assures) that crawl, scuttle and sometimes even battle under a pane of glass as diners enjoy margaritas and guacamole.
The table, which seats up to 10 people, has been a "great conversation piece," Bolduc says, with many wary diners giving in to curiosity. "At first, they're scared by it, but next thing you know, you see people hovering over the glass looking at the scorpions."
The scorpions, originating from Madagascar, are fed a diet of live crickets once or twice a week, and they eat as needed.
The idea first came to them several years ago, when Geronimo participated in the American Liver Foundation's "Flavors of Connecticut" dinner, Bolduc says. Restaurants compete to present the most unique and creative table designs, and director of operations Tim Scott suggested the live arachnid display. Bolduc is a furniture designer by trade, and his team at BoldWood Interiors custom-built the table.
Three years ago, the Geronimo team introduced the scorpion table to the bar area in its Fairfield location, and it was quickly sought-after, with diners calling well in advance for reservations. Bolduc say Geronimo may plan to add a second scorpion table in Fairfield's dining room, as it's been such a popular attraction for families with kids.
GERONIMO TEQUILA BAR & SOUTHWEST GRILL is at 271 Crown St., New Haven. Hours are Monday to Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday 11:30 a.m. to midnight. Full menu hour and happy hours at geronimobarandgrill.com.