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Why New York’s Peter Luger Steakhouse fills its dining room with wax statues

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Peter Luger celebrates the increase in dining capacity by inviting very famous guests to dinner! As Governor Andrew Cuomo gave New York restaurants the go-ahead to increase occupancy rates to 35% from Friday, Peter Luger Steakhouse filled his empty tables with the wax figures of Madame Tussauds stars, including Audrey Hepburn, Jon Hamm, Jimmy Fallon and our own Al Roker.

The Brooklyn restaurant is displaying wax mannequins throughout the dining room in partnership with the legendary Wax Museum to make unoccupied tables a little less empty. In the iconic steakhouse, you’ll find Jon Hamm having a drink at the bar, Audrey Hepburn sitting at a table and wearing her “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” look while Jimmy Fallon waits for you at a table, ready to share some laughs and maybe a concierge for two?

Surprisingly, Al Roker is stationed at the bottom of the stairs, ready to lead diners to the second floor.

The restaurant industry is vital to New York City’s economy, and it was particularly hard hit last year, said Daniel Turtel, vice president of Peter Luger, in a press release sent to TODAY Food. We’re thrilled to have diners inside 35%, and thought it would be a fun and safe way to fill some of the seats that need to be left empty as we continue to fight the pandemic. It was wonderful working with the fabulous Madame Tussauds New York team. “

And while it may be a little strange at first to see the wax figures scattered around the restaurant, Peter Luger is not the first restaurant to put this idea into practice during the coronavirus pandemic. Last May, the Michelin-starred Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Virginia took dining to a theatrical level by seating mannequins throughout the dining room to comply with the 50 capacity rules. %. Not only were the models well dressed in 1940s-era clothing, but the waiters tended to their tables, engaging them in (one-sided) conversation and offering them drinks.

And while these unusual diners may disturb some, for the restaurant industry it has been a fun way to bring attention to their places at a time when many have suffered huge losses or have been forced to close. their doors due to the impact of COVID-19. Having mannequins and wax figures filling empty tables has also been a great way to boost morale, as businesses struggle to stay open with limited capacity restrictions.

“The wax figures selected for this A-List dining experience represent a mix of New York icons from the past and present, from funnyman Fallon to elegant Audrey Hepburn,” said Brittany Williams, spokesperson for Madame Tussauds. New York, TODAY in an email. “We hope the guests enjoy a safe and tasty escape and document it all with some starry selfies!

Peter Luger has struggled to maintain his reputation for the best steak in New York in recent years. The restaurant’s withdrawal by New York Times critic Pete Wells went viral in 2019 with celebrities like Chrissy Teigen tweeting their agreement with the scathing review. The restaurant, considered a New York institution, shifted gears during the pandemic, offering take-out, deliveries, alfresco dining, and going against its cash-only and card-accepting business practices. of credit in order to stay afloat.

If you’re a fan of Al and Jimmy, or just fancy a really good steak, the wax figures will be at the Peter Luger Steak House until Monday, March 1, so be sure to book your reservation now.

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