Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

New York steakhouse fills empty seats with wax celebrities, lets you drink with a frozen Don Draper

Illustration for article titled New York steakhouse fills empty seats with wax celebrities, lets you drink with a frozen Don Draper
Photo: Cindy Ord (Getty Images)

Last spring, a chef figured out how to navigate COVID-19 capacity rules by filling his restaurant with a bunch of creepy mannequins. It’s almost a year later and, since we’re still dealing with the same pandemic that made the doll diners necessary in the first place, the restaurant industry’s had to escalate this novel tactic by bringing in corpse-like Madame Tussauds sculptures to entice customers with the prospect of getting to eat alongside frozen celebrities.

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The New York Post explains that Peter Luger Steakhouse has decided to help give its dining room a bit more life by filling it with five waxen affronts to god shaped like Jon Hamm, Audrey Hepburn, Al Roker, Jimmy Fallon, and Michael Strahan. David Berson, the Brooklyn restaurant’s vice president, believes “a lot of people like it” and don’t realize when first entering the steakhouse that they haven’t actually just happened upon the long-dead Hepburn or Hamm in his Don Draper suit while sitting down for a meal.

“Someone yesterday asked Jon Hamm if he knew where the bathroom was,” Berson says. He doesn’t add whether the fake Hamm’s waxy head slowly turned to look directly into the customer’s eyes and speak directions to the washrooms in a forgotten demonic tongue. He does make jokes, though, like that the staff is “trying not to let [the Hepburn figure] smoke” the cigarette she holds and that the celebrity sculptures are “all COVID free” and “living their best lives.”

These kind of quips make us think that Berson knows more than he’s letting on—that he has, perhaps, heard the tormented cries of Al Roker’s soul as it tries to break free of its wax prison late at night or the grating laughter of the Jimmy Fallon doll as it wobbles back and forth in its seat, hoping to knock itself onto the ground and break apart in the only form of sweet, restful death a sculpture can achieve.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.