If there were an award for generating the best free publicity, it would surely go to the Inn at Little Washington. Located in Washington, Virginia, their five star restaurant experience is well known even in Columbia/HoCo from the accounts of those who can afford a visit.
The Inn at Little Washington made a big splash this week with the news that they would be complying with the 50 per cent occupancy rule for restaurants by employing well-dressed mannequins as patrons at the other tables. From this week’s article in The Washingtonian:
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.
This story, in various permutations and with accompanying photographs, has been all over the internet and even on television this week. For a sampling, just do a Google search for The Inn at Little Washington. I don’t know how much it will cost to procure and dress the mannequins, but I think the outlay will be far surpassed by the resultant publicity.
As for me, even if I had the disposable income to indulge myself in what I have heard is a truly life-changing culinary experience, the new dining room set up would be a deterrent. The moment I read about the mannequins I could think of nothing but the automatons in Mancini’s Family Restaurant, the setting for a truly horrifying scene in a 2014 episode of Dr. Who.
Do you think any local restaurants will hop on to this trend? Tersiguels? The Elkridge Furnace Inn? Perhaps the Kings Contrivance? What about Clyde’s?
If you are intrigued and hankering to have a five star dining experience surrounded by well dressed, well behaved fellow “diners”, make sure your budget is up for the trip. A sample menu on the website reveals that their tasting menu is 248 dollars per person, with optional wine pairings at 180 dollars per person. I’m not sure if their special Kitchen Table option is currently available, but that will set you back an additional 595 dollars.
I wonder if you can get a discount if you bring your own mannequins.