Last week, some of New York’s most famous faces showed up to Peter Luger Steak House after state officials announced that restaurants could operate at 35-percent capacity. The esteemed guests certainly looked happy to be dining indoors, but they didn’t actually do any dining—or moving at all.
As Reuters reports, the celebrities were wax figures borrowed from Madame Tussauds to make the space look less empty while living, breathing humans sliced into sirloin around them. Al Roker stood by the stairs, pointing people toward the second floor with a smile; and Jimmy Fallon enjoyed tea and cheesecake at a table alone.
There were a couple iconic New York characters in attendance, too: Audrey Hepburn as Breakfast at Tiffany’s Holly Golightly sat at a table, decked out in her black cocktail dress and pearls. And Jon Hamm’s Mad Men character, Don Draper, remained stationed by the bar with one hand in the pocket of his bespoke dress pants and the other clutching a whiskey.
The steak house itself is a New York icon, too. Located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, it began in 1887 as “Carl Luger’s Café, Billiards and Bowling Alley,” run by Carl and owned by his uncle Peter. Though originally more of a neighborhood watering hole, the institution quickly became a hotspot for Manhattan businessmen once the Williamsburg Bridge opened in 1903. Sol Forman, founder of a family-owned metalware manufacturing plant just across the street, bought the restaurant in 1950. Forman ate a steak a day—at least—and his wife, Marsha, was responsible for visiting the Meatpacking District to personally inspect and pick out all the beef. Marsha passed away in 1998, and Sol died three years later, but the Forman family is still involved in managing the restaurant.
“The restaurant industry is vital to New York City's economy, and it's been particularly hard hit this past year,” Peter Luger vice president Daniel Turtel said in a press release. “We're excited to welcome diners back indoors at 35 percent, and thought this would be a fun, safe way to fill some of the seats that need to remain empty as we continue to fight the pandemic.”
The wax figures left the steak house after March 1, but you can always pay them a visit at Madame Tussauds, which is also currently open at limited capacity.