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Michael J. LaRue is planning on opening Rue La Rue Cafe, a Golden Girls-themed restaurant, in memory of his best friend, actress Rue McClanahan, who played Blanche Devereaux on the beloved series. According to DNAInfo, the restaurant is slated to open in Washington Heights, Manhattan, this September and will be decorated with memorabilia from the show that LaRue inherited from McClanahan after she passed away in 2010. The conceit is sweet, especially given LaRue’s personal relationship with McClanahan, but the idea of opening up a pop culture or TV-themed restaurant isn’t exactly unique. If anything, Golden Girls is only the latest of a long line of fictional movies and TV shows that have inspired real-life cafes, bars, and restaurants.
The type of TV show that can inspire someone to open a cafe runs the gamut, from classic Thursday night sitcom to modern anti-hero drama. Some of these restaurants are the real locations that inspired the writers on these shows that have capitalized on that connection, while others are careful recreations of set locations by superfans who live across the globe, proof at how influential TV can be.
So if you’ve always imagined having breakfast with your favorite fictional characters, and can’t wait for Rue La Rue Cafe to open up to celebrate Golden Girls, here are five other cafes and restaurants inspired by movies and TV shows that’ll help you approach that dream.
Bar Luce–Milan, Italy
Designed by Wes Anderson, Bar Luce in Milan, Italy, draws inspiration from traditional Milanese cafes and Anderson’s own oeuvre. The pastries look like they’re straight from Mendl's, and there are even movie-themed pinball machines.
Walter’s Coffee–Istanbul, Turkey
Walter’s Coffee is a coffee shop and roaster that was partially inspired to cook its own breakfast by Breaking Bad. It’s currently open in Istanbul, Turkey, where it offers a full breakfast that would make Walt Jr. jealous, but it’s also looking to open stores in New York City and Dubai.
Lebowski Bar–Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik, Iceland, seems like an unlikely location for bar inspired by The Big Lebowski, but Lebowski Bar exists, offering up diner fare pegged to the movie like the Nihilists, which is a basket of chicken wings, or the Other Lebowski burger.
Central Perk–Beijing, China
Friends took place in New York City, and has been off the air since 2004, but Central Perk exists to this day in Beijing, China. It’s a loving recreation of the original Central Perk, based on the TV show, that’s owned and operated by a Chinese superfan (who also has chosen to decorate his own apartment like Chandler and Joey’s place so you know he’s legit).
Tom’s Restaurant–New York, NY
Tom’s Restaurant is where Jerry Seinfeld and his crew used to hang out, and and though an exterior shot of the Manhattan diner is shown in Seinfeld, the interior is very different. But that hasn’t stopped Tom’s from become a point of pilgrimage for Seinfeld fans, serving up classic diner fare like omelets and pancakes.