- “Ladies and gentlemen, the Universe as we know it has now been in existence for over one hundred and seventy thousand million billion years and will be ending in a little over half an hour. So, welcome one and all to Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe!”
- —Max Quordlepleen's introduction at Milliways[src]
Milliways, better known as the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, is a five star restaurant situated at the end of time and matter. Its main attraction is allowing diners to view a Gnab Gib, before desserts are served. It appeared in the original radio series, second book, and in the television series.
The Restaurant has some of the most staggeringly extravagant decor ever seen, a variety of the strangest guests from throughout history, and serves a particularly fine Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. Milliways is run by an incredible arrangement of life forms from everywhen, and is the one place anywhen that serves talking food. One of the waiters is called Garkbit.
Reservations are easily obtained, since they can be booked once the patron returns to his or her original time after their meal, and the restaurant's bill can be paid by depositing a penny in any bank account of the present time: by the end of the universe, the compound interest on that penny over the course of time after 170 quintillion years (short scale) will be enough to pay the extremely high bill. Near-instant transportation to the restaurant can be achieved in certain rarefied circumstances, such as being next to an exploding hyperspatial field generator on the planet where Milliways will eventually be built several billion years after the explosion occurs. Or have access to a Infinite Improbability Drive, such as The Heart of Gold.
How the restaurant works
At the Restaurant you can meet and dine with a fascinating cross-section of the entire population of space and time. Guests can arrive for any sitting they like without prior reservation because they can book retrospectively, as it were, when they return to your own time. All you have to do is deposit one penny in a savings account in your own era, and when you arrive at the End of Time the operation of compound interest means that the fabulous cost of your meal has been paid for.
Guests can visit it as many times as they wish and be sure of never meeting themselves, because of the embarrassment this usually causes.
It is not unusual for customers to be a little disorientated by the time journey.
Many of the facts surrounding the restaurant are plainly impossible. This is why the advertising executives of the star system of Bastablon came up with this slogan: :"If you've done six impossible things this morning, why not round it off with breakfast at Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe."
Travel to and from the restaurant, as well as the tale of the meal, often involves convoluted grammatical structures, such as those addressed in Dan Streetmentioner's Time Traveler's Handbook of 1001 Tense Formations.
The restaurant itself
Milliways is built on the fragmented remains of an eventually ruined planet which is enclosed in a vast time bubble and projected forward in time to the precise moment of the End of the Universe. Many say this is impossible.
The restaurant building resembles a giant glittering starfish. In the arms of the star are the bars, the kitchens, the force-field generators and the Time Turbines. The heart of the star contains a large golden dome, almost a complete globe, where the main eating area is situated.
Inside the restaurant
Once inside, guests take their places at tables and eat sumptuous meals while watching the whole of creation explode around them.
The restaurant is brilliantly decorated, with elegant chandeliers, which Trillian remarked were nice. The bar at Milliways is eighty feet long, topped with marble and fronted with the skins from twenty thousand Anterean Mozaic Lizards.
The wine list is so large it comes in at least three volumes, as Zaphod Beeblebrox asked the waiter for the third volume.
Among the items on the menu when Arthur and his associates visited were the Dish of the Day, a very obliging Ameglian Major Cow and the somewhat less obliging vegetables in a green salad. Many cuts of the Ameglian Major Cow were available, such as shoulder braised in white wine sauce, grain fed rump, casserole, liver and steaks.
However, there was a sweet trolley and a fine selection of Aldebaran liqueurs available.
Behind the scenes
- According to The Salmon of Doubt, Douglas Adams came up with the idea while listening to Procol Harum's Grand Hotel.
Notes and references
- From the 1981 TV series' fifth episode.
- Believing "six impossible things before breakfast" is a quote from the White Queen in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass.
- From chapter 16 of the Douglas Adams novel The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.
- From Fit the Fifth.
- A diner who called Ford Prefect drunk did so into his wine glass, from chapter 16 of the novel The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.
- In Fit the Twenty-Sixth, Thor got champagne sent to Trillian.