Frequently Asked Questions
Get interrogated over a salad.
Q: Is there any age restriction?
A: Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys… all children. We’d advise not betting with the youth in the audience, they tend to perform high on mystery solving IQ.
Q: What beverages are included?
A: The usual fare hot coffee, hot tea, water, ice and the like are included. If your taste requires something more hearty ranging from sodas to cocktails, it’ll cost you extra, but will be well worth the money.
Q: Can I bring a cake, to celebrate a birthday?
A: Certainly! Just let one of our staff know when you check in, and they’ll be happy to keep it in the cooler (with everything else on ice, if you get the drift) until the time for birthday celebrations. Take note, your ticket price includes dessert and remains as is even though you are bringing a cake.
Q: Is there a separate menu for children?
A: Our chefs believe children deserve as good a meal as the grown ups, so please choose from the regular selection for your budding sleuths.
Cocktails, Beer, Wine and other Libations
Q: What kind of drinks are available?
A: Both of our show locations in Newport Beach and Riverside feature full bars and cocktail services. A Tom Collins is the traditional choice among gumshoes. And, in Riverside, we serve a wonderful homemade Sangria. Enjoy.
If you'd like to sharpen your sleuthing skills with a cocktail prior to our doors opening at 7:30, visit The beautiful Mission Inn directly across the courtyard from our Riverside location. In Newport, the bar at The Balboa Inn is open for your convenience from early afternoon through show time.
Q: Do you sell Gift Certificates?
A: Yes! You can purchase those from our ticket office via phone, or online.
Q: What should I wear? Is there a dress code?
A: Got a vintage tux? How about a feather boa? Break out that Jackie-O dress and your Princess Grace tiara! From the 1920's flappers in Darling, You Slay Me to the sleek 1960's jet setters in Get Cartier, our cast welcomes guests in costume. We love it when people dress up so feel free to use the evening as an excuse to have fun and dress to the nines! Our official dress code is business casual to formal wear, retro chic to elegant. (Please, we prefer no sweat shirts, shorts, t-shirts, or tennis shoes).
Q: How long has the Gourmet Detective been in business?
A: We’ve been in the food and murder business since 1990. We opened November 2nd, 1990 as The Mystery Café. In 1998 we changed our name to the Gourmet Detective. Same ownership, same since the beginning.
Interactive Theater / Audience Participation
Q: Does the audience get involved?
A: Yes. It’s up to you how involved. We have a unique style of audience friendly improvisation that always makes the audience look good. There is plenty of opportunity for you to be involved even playing out a wrong answer at the end if you are lucky enough to be chosen.
Q: Is this the Mystery Café?
A: Yes it was up until 1998 when we became the Gourmet Detective. We’re an original however, as we produce, write, direct and originate all of our own performances. We have a remarkable team of professionals that make up the Gourmet Detective family of creative talent and performers.
Q: How often do you change shows?
A: Not often enough. We generally produce a new show once each year. Our next production is now being discussed among our writers, but that’s TOP SECRET.
Number of Guests
Q: How many people does the restaurant accommodate?
A: We seat up to 120 guests in Newport Beach and 100 in Riverside. We also provide a traveling show that can perform at larger venues. The show can be staged for audiences up to 180 guests.
Q: How do I get the best seats? Are some seats better than others?
A: As in any restaurant tipping the maitre de will always provide the best seating… just kidding. The show is designed for optimal viewing from any area of the room. Our motto is “watch your back,” because you never know where the action will come from.
Q: When do you perform?
A: We perform every Friday and Saturday evening at 8pm throughout the year. During the month of December, we perform Thursday through Sunday. We also have a special performances scheduled on New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day and other major holidays. And, if you have a group or private party we’ll open our doors any day of the week.
Shows Off Site
Q: Do you perform your show at other locations?
A: Yes, we are always available on a “Murder for Hire” basis for private and corporate events.
Q: What do you do for special occasions?
A: We go to Las Vegas. Oh, sorry. We celebrate all birthdays and anniversaries during the show with our own brand of singing and dancing… very fun. Without embarrassing anyone, other than ourselves, we do pay special attention to the celebrant.
Extra Special Occasions
Q: What else can I do that is extra special?
A: In addition to our regular acknowledgment of birthdays and anniversaries, we offer our Celebration Package, which includes:
- A Gourmet Detective t-shirt
- One Free Drink
- A photo with the cast
You can add as many as you’d like during the online reservation process or give us a ring at the box office.
Q: Is there a stage?
A: The performers work in, throughout and among the tables, using the entire restaurant as the stage – the performance is surround sound… or more traditionally speaking “in-the-round.”
Q: How far in advance do I need to purchase tickets?
A: Provided we have seats available, you can purchase tickets right up until showtime. We recommend you call at least one to three weeks in advance to assure availability.
Q: Where do I pick up my tickets?
A: We do not issue tickets per se; we reserve your seats via your confirmation number, then you can access your seating at the restaurant when your party checks in. You’ll receive an email confirmation with the details of your reservation.
Q: What time does the evening start? end?
A: The entire experience is about 2-3 hours... For our regularly scheduled general public performances, seating and check-in is at 7:30, followed immediately by salad and cocktail service, and the first scene starts at 8pm. Murder’s solved, the guilty are carted away and the innocent are free to go roughly around 10 to 10:15pm. Tip: If you're visiting our beachfront location during the summer, give yourself plenty of time to find parking near the boardwalk.