The Gourmet Detective

I am friends with Alyssa the Executive Producer at the Newport Beach Gourmet Detective hosted at the Balboa Inn just off the pier. This is an amazing experience…worth every penny because you are getting a 5 star meal, 5 star interactive entertainment and something to remember. I was blown away at the way the actors kept us involved AND I kind of wanted them to bug me. That’s how much fun it was.

Now playing in Newport Beach

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Show Times

Friday & Saturday’s 8pm

Buy Tickets


The Balboa Inn
105 Main St.
Newport Beach, CA 92661


The Tee Room
3100 Irvine Ave
Newport Beach, CA 92660


We’re in the French Riviera, 1962. Four former comrades-in-arms and their respective loved ones gather for a birthday bash. Unbeknownst to the guests (that’s you) the party’s a ruse. Underlying the reunion of old friends is a nefarious scheme, including: a priceless set of jewels, an insurance scam, blackmail, and one charming, if reluctant, hero.

Threatened with blackmail if they do not cooperate, the former army buddies are infuriated and panicked. Suddenly, Hank is taken ill. Frances is hysterical; Charity cold. Family tensions implode. Guests are relieved, suspicious and intrigued. Perhaps there is a way they can turn Hank’s threats and Frankie’s jewels to their own advantage? Tiptoed visits are made to the Ackerman suite. When the jewels turn up missing and Hank turns up dead it’s up to you to take the lead unraveling this tangled web of disaster…

Alyssa Canann and Tom Shelton

Doug Bilitch

Alyssa Canann and Tom Shelton

How it Works

Guilty as charged.

It all begins the moment you step into the restaurant — The characters run the joint, and you, unsuspecting, become part of the scene, as you become witness, sleuth and potentially accomplice to the crime. The story itself is played out in scenes as you sit back and enjoy a visual feast of authentic costuming, sets and live period music. Between each scene of the mystery the same cast of characters serve you dinner… one course at a time. This is your chance to ask them questions, assume your own character and try and solve the mystery.

How it All Began

We began producing interactive, murder mystery dinner shows in 1990. In late 1989 we attended a few “audience participation” mysteries and were horrified by the Don Rickles approach to improvisation. We preferred a higher end experience, one that put the audience on a pedestal rather than on trial. So, we went searching for a team of directors, improvisation experts and performers to pull the whole thing together. The first performance was November 2nd, 1990 and it worked. Audiences of all types loved the mix of audience friendly participation, music, comedy and drama.

Why it’s Unique

We’ve been professionals in the food and murder business since 1990 so we’ve stood the test of time, but the thing that separates us from the rest of the Murder Mystery Genre is the quality of the patron’s overall experience. Our focus has always been on creating a positive audience experience; it’s mission critical in an interactive environment to make the audience feel they can get involved, take risks, and look good doing it. This way they become more engaged and ‘play’ with the performers. Once the audience is engaged the real fun begins.

Compared with other Murder Mysteries

It’s the audience member’s job to solve the mystery and the characters are at their disposal that much is standard fare; however, this production combines professionally scripted comical and musical performances, authentic costuming, live music underscoring the performance all within a full service restaurant creating a unique formula for audiences. Most dinner shows within the genre are improv troupes working from skeleton scripts. That’s a fun setting as well, but really not the production value that we strive to deliver.

Our Audience, or Who Should Attend

We appeal to an incredible range of people… from theater buffs to people looking for something different to experience. We are a very popular “date night’ as well as a perfect place for celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. And, of course we’re a big hit with companies celebrating holiday parties, hosting corporate events, sales meetings, or conferences.

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