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Grosse Pointe Woods restaurant Garrido's Bistro gets into the NFT game with 'CryptoShakes'

Using photogrammetry software software, restaurateurs crafted a 3D image of a real super-stacked milkshake and uploaded it to the blockchain

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Garrido's Bistro has been serving its Latin American-influenced menu for carryout only during much of the past year while its dining room is closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

One of its most popular menu items, however, are stacked, shareable milkshakes — piled high with other desserts: cake, doughnuts, ice cream, sprinkles and more — and those are on hold right now as they don't carry-out well and are best enjoyed as a dine-in experience. Instead, owners Vanessa Gonzalez and Christopher Garrido have launched their colorful, cool confections into another realm: the blockchain. 

The real life version of the Strawberry Supreme extreme milkshake from Garrido's Bistro in Grosse Pointe Woods. The owners have launched a "cryptoshake" digital asset version of the drink.

Gonzalez said they made a real edible, meltable version of the Strawberry Supreme shake and took 300 high-resolution digital photos of it from all angles. They used photogrammetry software to turn it into a unique, three-dimensional digital image and on Sunday minted it on the blockchain and put it up for auction.

It's a unique and extreme example of what restaurant owners are doing to keep their businesses alive during the pandemic. 

Gonzalez says it's the first non-fungible token (NFT) developed from real food on the blockchain, which is a digital ledger used in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. NFTs are considered collectible and have sold for a variety of price points. 

Recently other things that have sold via auction as NFT are digital houses, digital artwork, music, sports trading cards and even a tweet. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet from years ago, somehow, for $2.5 million. 

"I think years later people will realize the true value of this tweet, like the Mona Lisa painting," said the buyer, businessman Sina Estavi, in a tweet (what else?) on Monday. 

"I think it’s a game changer," said Gonzales about artists and other creators using NFTs. "The system allows them to collect royalties on everything they do. There’s absolutely no middle man."

Garrido's Bistro took 300 hi-res photos of all angle of the Strawberry Supreme milkshake and used photogrammetry software to turn it into a digital, Non-fungible token or NFT.

Last week, Pizza Hut Canada sold a digital image of pizza as a NFT for nearly $9,000 UDS. The auction for it started at the cryptocurrency equivalent of 18 cents. Before that, Taco Bell put 25 tokens online and sold out in 30 minutes. 

Gonzalez says Garrido's NFT shakes (there's one now, and more unique versions will come) are different. 

"The main difference, of course, is we’re not a franchise, they’re selling these punk, sort of artwork of tacos. Ours, we took the actual food, it’s not an artistic representation of the food," she said. "We made the milkshake ... but it exists in the virtual world in a perfect, super high-resolution, 3D visual of it. So when you get the 3D object you can look as close as you want. You’ll get the same detail as the real-life ice cream and cakes and cookies."

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The Strawberry Supreme CryptoShake will be awarded to the highest bidder. They will get a 3D object file, two high-resolution PNG images on transparent background to edit as they wish, an MP4 video of the item and a digital certificate of appreciation. Proceeds from the sale of the NFT milkshake will help fund the restaurant. 

Gonzalez says they're considering releasing less unique versions that customers can obtain as an NFT and redeem at the restaurant for the real thing once they reopen for indoor dining. The large shakes, which are meant to be shared with a group are priced around $20-$25. 

The bistro owners have invested a few thousand dollars into this venture. Gonzalez says she's not sure they would have gone this route if it wasn't for the pandemic forcing them to stretch the limits of their imagination.

"To be in this business you have to be really creative and you have to be on overdrive all the time trying to make things better and better," she said. 

Garrido's Bistro is currently open for carryout only at 19605 Mack in Grosse Pointe Woods. To view their menu and learn more about their real food and their digital desserts, visit garridosbistro.com. To view the CryptoShake on the blockchain, visit rarible.com/garridosbistro.

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Twitter: @melodybaetens