If you hear "July 30" and you think, "Oh! That's National Golden Girls Day!"* you will probably want to hear about a place where you can have a nice meal and live for a while in the world of Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia.
There is a pop-up cafe in Los Angeles, which is where things are always popping up. It came with the blessings of Disney, which owns the rights to the old NBC sitcom which ran seven seasons, beginning in 1985. The theme of the place is, of course, aging, dating, and cheesecake.
It's called The Golden Girls Kitchen, and they're getting people from all over to come dine in the memories. Some of these fans probably attended the GoldenCon convention in Chicago held recently and are hoping that the rumors of a reboot for the show will come true.
Joe Saunders and his family, from Cranston, Rhode Island, were touring Northern California when they heard about the place, and headed south just to see it.
“I was a little hesitant about coming but my kids’ mom really wanted to come,” said Saunders, who was wearing a T-shirt referencing the sitcom’s fictitious Shady Pines retirement home. “It’s been a good time... the lasagna, the strawberry daiquiri and I’m going to have a piece of cake with ice cream, too.”
A.J. Maloney, just 23, said it's been "so heartwarming to see my mom light up. I know that she’s watched the show at least 50 times each season,” so he and his mom, Shellee, 45, came up from San Diego to be there.
It's all been put together by a firm called Bucket Listers. Derek Berry, their "Director Of Experiences," has done this with food venues saluting other shows, such as “Saved By the Bell,” “Breaking Bad,” and “Beverly Hills 90210." Berry says if a show has “staying power” and "people are constantly quoting it," it would make a good place to eat, so “Golden Girls” was inevitable.
“Every time we announce a pop-up, we look at the comments. People are like ‘I love it, but you should have done this!’ And it’s always ‘Golden Girls,’” said Berry.
Executive chef Royce Burke came up with appropriate menu items and names...such as Sicilian Sophia's lasagna, all the various cheesecakes they mentioned on the show, and the Scandinavian delicacies Rose bubbled over in her stories about her hometown of St. Olaf, Minnesota.
“I like all the St. Olaf items where you never knew if they were real or not,” Berry said. “We threw a couple on there. It’s so fun to see my staff and myself try to pronounce them.”
The plan for now is to stay open in LA through October, and then take the restaurant show on the road to New York, Chicago, San Francisco and, of course, Miami, the most Golden Girlish city in the world.
Of course, none of the Golden Girls is still with us. Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty all passed in the 2000s and the beloved Betty White left us last last December at 99. But the show lives on, with cable reruns and Hulu streaming, and some people still probably have the DVD Box Set.
A real-life quartet of Golden Girls - Shirley Lyon and three girlfriends from Palos Verdes, California, came to dine with their own drinkware. They made mugs with their own faces printed instead of those of the characters.
“People here, I think, all love them,” Lyon said. “I don’t think anybody comes who hasn’t experienced how precious they are. I just love their friendship.”
*It's also National Cheesecake Day.