Of all the restaurants in and around Washington, D.C., just one has been awarded three stars by the Michelin guide to fine dining.
That’s the Inn at Little Washington, which is actually about 90 minutes from the city. The quaint little restaurant and hotel in the Virginia hills boasts a spectacular chef and is decidedly pricey (about $250 per person for a “tasting menu,” and staying the night runs about $600 for a room).
Like all restaurants in Virginia, the Inn has been shuttered since Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam closed down all “nonessential” businesses. But the owners have a plan for reopening: Mannequins.
Chef Patrick O’Connell reportedly plans to comply with the state’s social distancing rule by seating fully dressed mannequins at various tables, according to a Washingtonian magazine story this week.
“I think it would do people a world of good to reduce their anxiety level when they come out to a place which is still unaffected, because if you watch your television, you think that there isn’t such a place under a bubble,” O’Connell told the magazine.
The Washingtonian reported:
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 Theatre 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.
The idea didn’t go over all that well with critics on social media.
“This is both an excellent idea and extremely creepy,” wrote one person on Twitter.
This is both an excellent idea and extremely creepy.
— Jamie Schler (@lifesafeast) May 13, 2020
“Because the pandemic didn’t feel enough like the Twilight Zone,” wrote another.
Co-host of “The View” Meghan McCain joined the fun.
“Are they going to come alive at night and kill me?” she wrote.
“At some point, I’ll accept some risk of contracting the virus to go places I want to. I will NOT go to any place with those things,” wrote another.
“I hope they’re not pouring them bad wine, or they’ll haunt our dreams,” Townhall editor and a Fox News contributor Guy Benson said a tweet.
The Inn says it’s using mannequins to adhere to the rules, which will allow restaurants to open, but only at 50% capacity. One Twitterer said that makes sense.
“Yes, this will definitely keep at least 50% of people away,” said writer Gennifer Hutchison.
Yes, this will definitely keep at least 50% of people away. https://t.co/dDe3QRF5Tv
— Gennifer Hutchison (@GennHutchison) May 13, 2020
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