Blindfolded diners at Brewery District’s Ash & Em must use their noodles to eat

Originally Published in This Week Community News

At Ash & Em, success could mean the difference between eating a delicious meal or eating crow.

The Blind Ninja Dinner Challenge is a “dinner-in-the-dark” experience. Customers are blindfolded and must use their wits and teamwork to get to the bottom of a plate of food, said Marty Lee Parker, the challenge founder.

Heather Keck of Hilliard said she would try it again.

She and her husband, Brian Keck, and two friends participated, and she called it a “fun night out.”

“It was interesting to eat everything blindfolded and figure out what you were eating,” Keck said. “I think they did a very good job to ensure they were providing items most people would eat.”

The dinners started the first weekend of December at Ash & Em, 560 S. High St. in Columbus’ Brewery District.

A 6 p.m. general-public seating for 12 – two teams of six people – is available Fridays and Saturdays, said Parker, also founder of Columbus Axe Throwing, on the ground floor of 560 S. High St., and Throw Nation, 6649 Dublin Center Drive in Dublin. A Throw Nation also is in Chicago. Seating is expected to increase up to 40 in the next month.

Reservations are required.

A five-course dinner, with a vegetarian or meat option, cooked by Ash & Em, is $59.95 per person.

“This is delicious stuff; nothing is exotic,” Parker said.

For the Blind Ninja challenge, customers arrive at 5:40 p.m. for a briefing on the rules and to don a pair of opaque goggles.

They are led into the dining room, where they essentially have to solve clues to eat their food. “Food ninjas,” including Parker, are there to provide cryptic instructions.

For an added twist, customers are not given utensils, so not only do they have to find their food on the table in front of them; they also have to find a way to eat it, Parker said.

“Their success depends on their acumen of life: asking the right questions, leadership skills, communications and, most importantly, how quickly they rebound,” he said. “Being a good listener is just as important as being a good leader.”

Even if they do locate the food – and manage to consume it – another mystery yet remains.

“You won’t know what you’re putting in your mouth,” Parker said.

Although Parker presents the Blind Ninja dinner as a trial to get fed, Keck said, the instructions were not too difficult to follow, and teammates were helpful in getting others to their food.

“It was very laid-back, and they were really good at making you feel comfortable,” she said. “And being blindfolded is really nerve-racking.”

Keck called it a bonding experience “because you definitely are not clean (at the end). Food gets everywhere.”

Blind Ninja dinners are available at any time for parties of 12 or more, Parker said.

The entire experience is about two hours.

“You won’t find this anywhere else (in Columbus),” said Jared Stukey, a food ninja.

Stukey said most diners have a good time and show a sense of humor about the experience.

“It’s quite interesting to watch people eat their food while blindfolded,” he said.

For more information, go to or call 614-681-1567.

To see the original article please visit–em-must-use-their-noodles-to-eat

Ax-throwing entrepreneur brings the Blind Ninja Dinner Challenge to Columbus

Originally from  Dan Eaton  – Staff reporter, Columbus Business First

Marty Parker is getting into the food business in the only way he knows how – by making it a game.

The entrepreneur behind assorted escape rooms, ax-throwing venues and the wide-ranging “throw bar” that is Throw Nation in Dublin has opened the Blind Ninja Dinner Challenge at 560 S. High St. in the Brewery District.

That old bar and restaurant space is one of his ax-throwing concepts during the week, but at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays he’s now testing something new.

For a $59.95 ticket guests get a five-course meal. But it isn’t that easy. Everyone is blindfolded and put on teams and then given clues as to how to find the food and eat it. Teamwork is key.

“You will not eat if you don’t communicate,” Parker said. “If you’re quiet, you will die.”

Parker admits that’s not totally true, of course. Guests won’t leave without any food, but he hopes visitors take to the spirit of the game, if for no other reason than their appetites.

There also are prizes beyond actually getting to find and eat the meal. Also, though the menus are secret, there isn’t anything exotic. No gross eating challenges. There are meat and vegetarian options. No nuts or seafood are served.

Parker said he had several inspirations. The first is dinner-in-the-dark events. The second is dinner detective events. The third was the Mud Ninja run he ran. Running those through his mental processor, he came up with Blind Ninja. The host is an actor working from a script, similar to the detective performances. The event lasts up to two hours and accommodates up to 12 people.

Parker said the ticket price is comparable to going to one of his other venues plus having a dinner.

Columbus is Parker’s test run for the idea. He also operates a multi-activity space in Chicago that has a dining area that otherwise isn’t being used. Blind Ninja is an idea he might launch in that space. He’s also talking to hotels about it being a potential entertainment offering.

“Competitive socializing” is the term Parker uses for his various creations. And though this one might sound odd to the individual, he said the target is corporate outings and other group gatherings, like team-building events or birthday parties, though individuals and smaller groups are welcome.

Check out the original story at

Food News: Diner and burlesque club opens at Easton; Wild Ginger Asian Fusion expands

Check out this excerpt from Columbus Alive. Entire story can be found

“Competitive entertainment” entrepreneur Marty Parker (owner of Columbus Axe Throwing and Throw Nation) has launched a new concept, The Blind Ninja Dinner Challenge, in which participants dine on a five-course dinner — while blindfolded. (What’s next? Blindfolded ax throwing?) The new “dining in the dark” experience is located at 560 S. High St., home to Columbus Axe Throwing in the Brewery District. The Blind Ninja Dinner Challenge offers two seatings (6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.) on Fridays and Saturdays.”