So Saturday, a female friend and I went to a mobile home park clubhouse in Santa Ana, Orange County, CA to attend the first AniMaid Cafe event hosted by Funky Fresh Cosplay. Except for a little delay in setup, we were in the first group to enter.
Unfortunately, it was only one server per table so we could only get either a maid or a host. Since I've already been to a real maid cafe in Akihabara, Tokyo, I let my friend pick our host, Kaname. While we were waiting for our lunch (mine was clam chowder followed with fried rice and spam and topped off with a root beer float for dessert while my friend had miso followed with okonomiyaki with a trio of bite sized cakes for dessert), we played games with Kaname as our advanced order tickets also included two games with the host in hopes of winning tickets that could be redeemed for taking a picture with them. Two games had to be won in order to get a pic...after Mario Party DS, Mario Kart DS, Connect Four, and two rounds of Jenga (my friend paid for the fifth game), we only won two tickets, which I let my friend have since I wouldn't want a pic with a host.
In another room, video game tournaments were held, though most players kept forgetting about it they wandered from the game room to the main hall with the diners, manga, videos, and maid performances that included dances, anime theme songs, and a game of rock, paper, scissors between the maids and some people in the audience.
Most of our time was spent in conversation with Kaname about Anime Expo, college life (my friend and I are both college grads while he was still a student), anime, manga, reasons for a maid cafe, etc...
Lunch did take long as we were in the first wave of guests, so the staff was still getting ready to cook. I wasn't expecting much, but I was hungry when the food came. My meal definitely had a home-cooked feel to it, and I guess I was lucky I ordered the fried rice as I heard rumblings that the beef curry wasn't all that great. I guess they weren't using the boil-in-a-bag stuff that I use for curry. The service had some lapses (a sign that the cosplayers who hosted the event were more anime fan than foodservice employee...) such as some delays in getting water and napkins, but I viewed this event more as an anime/manga themed party than an actual food event, so I'm not angry.
Overall, for a first attempt, I applaud their efforts, and I hope they can work with a local Japanese grill so they can focus more on entertaining than food. I wasn't sure about the demographic who would show up, but definitely the majority were in the college age/recent college grad/"hipster" crowd with some high schoolers mixed in.
There weren't many cosplayers, but the most notable was a trio of female students for Ouran High School. I didn't have much of an opportunity to take a pic of them because we were being entertained by Kaname, and when we were done, the girls were being seated at their table. I did take pics of the maids, though.
For another review of the event, check out How A Girl Figures (thanks Jyuichi for the link)