Walking backstage at a theater, in a toy store, or even in a hair salon, it’s not uncommon to come across costumed mannequins. Now, it won’t be uncommon to see the lifelike dolls in some restaurants either. In an effort to get creative amidst cautious restaurant reopenings, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Virginia is adding mannequin “guests” to its dining room seating chart.
According to CNN, The Inn at Little Washington is interspersing the mannequins at dining room tables to add ambiance and fill empty space. This unique measure adheres to 50 percent capacity reopening laws, keeping patrons safe while also adding theatrical fun to the eating area.
Chef and owner Patrick O’Connell, a James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, said The Inn at Little Washington is a space for “living theater,” and the addition of mannequins fully reaffirms this light-hearted philosophy.
Upon reopening on May 29, O’Connell and his staff will encourage guests to take advantage of the socially distanced statues, allowing customers to take pictures with the 1940s era mannequins and participating in the theatrical fun. The staff will also interact with the mannequins, stopping to check on them, to paint a full picture.
As other restaurants begin reopening their doors, mannequins won’t be the only news guests filling seats. Expect to see other creative dining companions such as blowup creatures, cardboard cutouts, and stuffed animals, to help support social distancing measures.