Themes can be fun—themed birthdays, baby showers, bat mitzvahs. Themes help us, maybe, sink into the act of whatever it is we’re doing more readily, ham it up a little more, possibly. But these days, themes do not begin and end with parties. Entire businesses have taken them on; most recently, we learned a Breaking Bad-themed café, Walter’s, will open soon in Williamsburg. And, do you know any young people? If so, you’re aware of the American Girl doll Café. It has little high chairs that attach to table edges that hold dolls dressed identically to the small human sitting next to it, and they are served doll-sized meals.
Now, New York City is getting a proper adult-sized theme restaurant of its own, and this one should really make the masses flock to it—and to the basic American soups, wraps, salads, desserts, cheesecake, and wine that it will sell—because its theme is one of America’s most intrepid TV shows of the 20th Century, The Golden Girls.
DNAinfo disclosed that Rue La Rue Café will open in early September in Washington Heights. Michael J. LaRue, best friend to the late Rue McClanahan, the glorious and handsome Golden Girl Blanche Devereaux, is behind the project, along with McClanahan’s son. At a community board meeting, LaRue reported that McClanahan “was [his] best friend;” he was also given “all her personal belongings and show business memorabilia” after she passed away in 2010, along with McClanahan’s piano; and he plans to use his inheritance to decorate the café. LaRue signed on Betty White, i.e. Rose, to appear at the café’s ribbon cutting ceremony, and Disney gave him exclusive rights to produce its own Golden Girls paraphernalia.
Golden Girls is syndicated in 50 countries, according to LaRue and DNAinfo, so it will not just be Americans aged somewhere between 30 and 60 who might travel to north Manhattan to eat salad and drink white wine with a shared dream of dining in a Floridian home that four older people once pretended to live in. “I believe I can turn this place into a min-tourist [hub] in Washington Heights,” LaRue boldly stated.
If anyone could tap into the particular zeitgeist of the neighborhood required to make it happen, it might just be four of America’s favorite senior citizens.