Lonely Planet Writer

A restaurant in Georgia claims to have induced 300 labours in pregnant women with this dish

Food trends come and go. The past two years alone has brought us everything from sushi donuts and rat burgers, to gold leaf ice cream and rainbow cheese toasties. One restaurant in Smyrna, Georgia, however has been attracting customers with a service completely different from any of their potential competition, offering a dish that they claim has assisted induce the birth of nearly 300 babies.

The classic Italian restaurant features breaded eggplant covered in cheese and marinara sauce.
The classic Italian restaurant features breaded eggplant covered in cheese and marinara sauce. Image by Eleonora Galli

Called Scalini’s, the small family-run US restaurant has become famous for one dish, the eggplant parmigiana, a plate of breaded eggplant covered in melted cheese and thick marinara sauce. The walls of the restaurant are adorned with nearly 300 pictures of babies that were born within 48 hours of their mothers having eaten the dish. The Scalini’s website also features pictures of babies along with stories sent in from happy customers that have tried the charmed dish.

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Opened in 1980, the eggplant legend began shortly after Scalini’s opened its doors. “Two or three years after we began, a few people had just mentioned to us they came in when they were pregnant and ate this eggplant and had a baby a short time after that. One person told another, and it just grew by itself by leaps and bounds,” said John Bogino, who runs the restaurant with his son Bobby.

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Anywhere from between two to six women per day visit the restaurant to try the labour inducing dish, with expectant customers being asked to sign the restaurant’s baby book. If they go into labour within 48 hours of eating the dish, the happy parents receive a gift card worth $25 and a baby t-shirt.

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Anecdotally, certain foods have been said to help induce labour, including extra spicy food, pineapple, black liquorice and red raspberry tea. Despite the fact that these dishes are commonly tried, there is little scientific research proving their effectiveness.

However, anyone wishing to try it that cannot afford a flight to Georgia needn’t fear, as the full recipe for the magical baby-bringing meal is available on Scalini’s website.