"The Far Side" comic strip-bedecked restrooms at The Salty Pig in the South End are vying for glory against a magical forest of stalls in New Hampshire, a tricked-out nursing station in Ohio, a stratified salt bed in Kansas, and more in an annual contest.
Cintas, a corporate supply company, is looking for America's Best Restroom for the 14th year in a row. The company accepted submissions for non-residential, publicly accessible restrooms, and finalists were chosen based on cleanliness, visual appeal, innovation, functionality, and unique design elements, according to a press release.
The Salty Pig general manager Ines Lee Santos told the Boston Globe that the restaurant was unaware such a contest even existed, let alone that they would be in the running. But, "We take great pride in thinking about the whole experience of the restaurant, so it’s great to have an external company validate that hard work."
Santos added via Cintas' press release, "We love knowing that across the country there are many like-minded friends putting work into the details, including creative restrooms."
Other finalists, all pictured online, are:
- The Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire: An 1870s performance arts venue, renovated in 2008 with mystical restrooms that boast cast bronze trees, branches and vines; gilded Corinthian columns, velvet settees, and creative tile patterns.
- Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio: The home of the Cincinnati Reds, which features a nursing suite complete with gliders, changing stations, a kitchenette with a sink, and TVs tuned to the action on the field.
- Strataca in Hutchinson, Kansas: Restrooms converted from a 275 million-year-old stratified salt bed 650 feet underground, located at the only salt-mine attraction in North America.
- Cibo Wine Bar in Miami, Florida: An Italian restaurant with ceiling-mounted, motion-activated faucets and artwork by Randy Cooper.
- Charleston Distilling in Charleston, South Carolina: A small-batch distillery with restrooms designed as giant, wooden barrels.
- The Fitton Center for Creative Arts in Hamilton, Ohio: A community arts center with a mosaic of hand-made, nature-themed tiles.
- OB Warehouse in Ocean Beach, California: A restaurant and bar with recycled materials on display behind glass cases, including retro, hand-held mirrors; oil cans, vintage tools like plumber pipe, a wrench, metal letter stamps, and more.
- Perry Lakes Park in Marion, Alabama: A 50-foot "tall toilet" situated deep in the woods made with durable, local materials.
- Town of Minturn Public Restrooms in Minturn, Colorado: Digitally-fabricated restrooms that resemble a Rocky Mountain mine.
The public is invited to vote for its favorite restroom through October 31. The runner-up and champion will earn places in Cintas' Restroom Hall of Fame, and the winner will also receive $2,500 in services from the company.