If you've ever wondered what it would be like to visit the dining area from one of Fallout's famous vaults, this retro-futuristic cafeteria sitting deep beneath New Mexico provides a pretty good idea of where we'd all be eating after a nuclear apocalypse.

Built in the late 20's, Carlsbad Caverns' Underground Lunchroom was intended to put a new spin on the timeless tradition of overpriced theme park food, but with its stainless steel accents and booths inspired by super-villain lairs, it ended up being almost as popular an attraction as the caverns themselves. It's not a leap to think that visitors in the 50's imagined that their future dining might look quite a bit the same in a few decades.

Historians believe that the Underground Lunchroom once served over a million lunches a year during its heyday, and vintage postcards show long lines of hungry patrons snaking through the caverns, eager to purchase boxed meals and cigars.

In 1994, the lunchroom came under fire for altering the delicate geology of the underground caverns. By this point the ovens and the cigars were long gone, but it was argued that the food particles had been attracting exotic organisms that were displacing the original creatures that dwelled in the caves for millions of years.


Despite the negative attention, the 700 seat cafeteria still remains in Carlsbad Caverns to this day, albeit in a more stripped down fashion. Visitors can still settle into a cold sandwich (sans Nuka Cola) at a lantern-lit table and imagine what life would be like underground.

Hint: lots of canned meats.


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