In case you missed it, there’s a real-life pop-up restaurant modeled after “The Max” — the fictional restaurant featured in 90s sitcom Saved by the Bell. What a cool idea, and a great example of a concept playing on both of the most powerful forces in marketing.
Taking inspiration from Saved by the Max, I brainstormed five TV restaurants in which I’d pay to dine in real life:
1. Monk’s Diner — Seinfeld
The outside of Monk’s Diner from Seinfeld is real-life Tom’s Restaurant in New York. However, the inside of the restaurant was shot on a sound stage. While Hulu built a real-life version of Jerry Seinfeld’s apartment to promote its deal with the show, nobody has built a replica of the inside of Monk’s Diner. I’d do just about anything for a chance to talk about nothing while eating chicken salad, on rye, untoasted, and drinking a cup of tea.
2. Café Nervosa — Frasier
Frasier is one of my favorite shows of all time. While Niles and Frasier spent most of their time at Café Nervosa on the show, fans have never been able to enjoy a cup of coffee and the ambiance provided by the Crane brothers’ favorite shop. The coffee shop was inspired by Elliott Bay Café, but there’s never been a true replica of Café Nervosa.
3. Central Perk — Friends
For one glorious month in 2014, Friends fans were able to visit a pop-up Central Perk café in New York City. But then the café closed up shop and hasn’t been seen since. I think a long-standing, real-life Central Perk might be more popular than The Max.
4. Cheers — Cheers
When my parents first took our family to Boston in the 90s, we made a stop at The Bull & Finch Pub, which was used for exterior shots of Cheers. Bull & Finch renamed itself “Cheers Beacon Hill” and it still stands today. However, the interior of the bar does not look like the set of Cheers. Wouldn’t it be fun to sit inside a replica Cheers and shout “Norm!” to everyone who walks in the door? The bar used for filming Cheers will reportedly be housed in the yet-to-be-built Museum of Television.
5. Freddy’s BBQ Joint — House of Cards
Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) spent several mornings of the early seasons of House of Cards at Freddy’s BBQ Joint, a fictional restaurant in Washington, DC. While this pop-up shop would be pretty small, I’d love to sample Freddy’s barbecue while thinking up ways to ruin people’s lives while I ascend to the highest levels of power.
There’s never a lack of ideas.