More than 37 years after their television debut, the Golden Girls have made their way to the Big Apple.
On Wednesday, the Golden Girls Kitchen opened in New York to an enthusiastic gaggle of hungry fans. The fast-casual pop-up restaurant debuted in Beverly Hills, California, this summer, offering modern interpretations of dishes referenced on the classic sitcom. Menu items include Sophia’s Lasagna Al Forno, Blanche’s Georgia Style Cookies, Rose’s Sperheoven Krispies and, of course, cheesecake.
As was the case for the West Coast incarnation, New York guests can enjoy full-scale replicas of the show’s pastel-heavy set, including the kitchen ― where many of the most quotable scenes took place ― and a “lanai” with stylized furniture.
By far the most popular photo-op among visitors at a press preview event Tuesday was “Blanche’s Boudoir,” with its iconic banana leaf headboard and duvet cover.
The Golden Girls Kitchen is produced by Bucket Listers, an online events company. Derek Berry, the group’s vice president of experiences, told HuffPost that he began developing the concept in late 2019, shortly before COVID-19 shuttered many restaurants nationwide. Ultimately, the unexpected downtime gave his team more time to ensure “no detail was spared, no episode was left unwatched” during the research phase, he said.
“We really wanted to tap all five senses at once,” said Berry, who has created similar pop-up eateries based around “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Saved by the Bell,” among other shows. “There have been smaller ‘Golden Girls’ activations in the past, ‘Golden Girls’ cookbooks, ‘Golden Girls’ merch, but we found a way to bring this all to the next level, and have them compliment each other as well.”
The Golden Girls Kitchen will operate in New York through late February. Following its Manhattan engagement, the eatery will visit Miami and San Francisco before wrapping in Chicago in the spring.
“The Golden Girls” ran on NBC from 1985 to 1992 and starred Bea Arthur, Estelle Getty, Rue McClanahan and Betty White. At the time, the series won major acclaim in the youth-dominated television landscape by subverting stereotypes about women over 50.
And though it’s been off the air for 30 years, the show continues to be discovered by younger viewers in syndication and on Hulu, and its depiction of a number of hot-button issues ― including addiction, same-sex marriage and sexual assault ― feels startlingly relevant today.
Though Berry knows that the Golden Girls Kitchen is banking on audience nostalgia, he’s convinced that enthusiasm for the series that inspired it will keep the concept alive for quite some time.
“The writing is so well done with its humor baked in throughout. People still quote the one-liners today,” he said. “I’m confident in saying that in another 30 years, it will be a show that fans are still talking about.”