Curious Fact of the Week: The Restaurant Where 300 Animal Heads Watch You Eat - Atlas Obscura
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Curious Fact of the Week: The Restaurant Where 300 Animal Heads Watch You Eat

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If you want to have a meal beneath the gaze of over 300 mounted animal heads, your dream cuisine is in Rio Vista, California. Foster’s Big Horn Restaurant contains the hunting trophies of one Bill Foster, who was a prolific hunter and likely a fearsome sight to any mammal who crossed his path. 

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photograph by Thomas Hawk

One animal head in a restaurant or bar might just be a macabre choice of curio, three would be a bit morbid, but once you go over the 300 mark you plunge into a grotesque visual of the rampant big game hunting that took place in Africa in the early 20th century. That’s not to say there isn’t something to appreciate in the sight for its sheer spectacle, with the glassy eyes of deer, a giraffe, a crowd of ibex, lions, a hippo, a Cape Buffalo, a moose with 76 inch wide antlers, and a massive African elephant gazing in a frozen stampede that seems to be emerging from the walls. Foster funded the hunting with money from bootlegging during Prohibition, and opened the restaurant in 1931 after making his trips to Africa, Canada, and Alaska for animal slaying in the 1920s. 

Below are some more photographs from Foster’s Big Horn Restaurant, which can claim one of the largest private animal trophy collections in the world: 

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photograph by Lynae Zebest

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photograph by Telstar Logistics

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photograph by Thomas Hawk

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photograph by Thomas Hawk

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photograph by Orin Zebest

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photograph by Thomas Hawk

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photograph by Orin Zebest

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photograph by Orin Zebest

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photograph by Thomas Hawk

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photograph by Orin Zebest

article-imagephotograph by Jasperdo/Flick user

FOSTER’S BIG HORN, Rio Vista, California


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