Michelin-Starred Restaurant Will Seat Mannequins at Tables to Make Space Feel Less Empty

Remember the Twilight Zone episode where the woman goes to a department store to buy a gold thimble for her mother and then the mannequins on the abandoned floor tell her that she doesn’t have a mother and has been a mannequin pretending to be a woman? What did we learn there.

The Little Washington Inn located in Virginia has come up with a clever but very creepy way to feel less empty as social distancing is enforced. With three Michelin stars, the renowned restaurant will reopen near the end of the month, and it will do so with mid-century mannequins at half of the tables. 

Virginia’s current coronavirus pandemic response plan allows restaurants to reopen on May 15 with half-capacity outdoor seating, but the Little Washington Inn will welcome customers again from Friday, May 29. Chef Patrick O’Connell came up with the idea to use the 1940s-style outfitted mannequins, as the Washingtonian reports. O’Connell has indicated the mannequins will make the restaurant appear fuller while staying limited to 50 percent capacity. 

“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,” the chef explained.

If anything, the decision has provoked a lot of fear from would-be customers, with some calling the move worthy of nightmares and horror flicks.

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