DesPardes + PKonweb

Mannequins on Half of Restaurant Tables and This Cud Be a Splash

Photograph courtesy of the Washingtonian/Inn at Little Washington.

IRSHAD SALIM — It’s out of the box. To get there become whimsical. Add drama if need be. The end must justify the means. Social distancing may be temporary but the new normal may not be. So how do you beat that?

Here’s an example: “That’s right, life-size human dolls—kind of like that scene in Home Alone when Kevin throws a mannequin holiday party to fool the burglars”. The restaurant in US will also have Marilyn Monroe masks, the report says.

Can we have such a comparable idea in Islamabad or in Lahore or Karachi? Giving it a desi twist (with our popular timeless role models occupying some of the tables) will add oomph (it’s not copyrighted) and meet requirement (Sec 144). Here’s a role model in my view: this Rickshaw. It’s timeless too!

The idea could be exported as ride sharing (oops), I mean for deliveries. I call it imagineering.

Add another gossip in town: Mannequins + Rickshaw.

The Washingtonian reports that Mannequins occupy 50% of this restaurant’s tables to comply with distancing.

A few weeks ago, the Inn at Little Washington sent out an email blast announcing that the luxury Rappahannock County destination would be reopening for dinner on May 15. Then Virginia governor Ralph Northam threw a hitch into chef Patrick O’Connell‘s plans: Diners can sit outside only for “phase one” of the reopening, and those patios can be filled only to 50 percent capacity. The al fresco mandate wouldn’t work for the Inn’s lavish three-Michelin-star property, so they hopefully pushed the debut to May 29. But the 50-percent-empty thing? O’Connell has a plan.

Instead of letting tables sit vacant, the whimsical chef plans to outfit his dining rooms with mannequins. That’s right, life-size human dolls—kind of like that scene in Home Alone when Kevin throws a mannequin holiday party to fool the burglars. The chef (who majored in drama in college) has been working with Shirlington’s Signature Theater to get the faux humans costumed in 1940s-era garb. Servers will be instructed to pour them wine and to ask them about their evening. Here’s hoping the actual diners don’t have any doll phobias.

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The writer is Islamabad-based. A business consultant and analyst, he’s Editor/Publisher of despardes.com and pkonweb.com