I don’t know about your comfort levels with inanimate objects like these mid-century mannequins dressed in historical garb “eating” dinner at a three-star Michelin restaurant in Virginia, but personally? Lock me in this dining room and leave me to rot!
This photo is from the Inn at Little Washington, a restaurant in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area that has reopened its doors in accordance with social distancing measures. According to the Washingtonian, the first phase of Virginia’s re-opening mandates that restaurants can only serve diners outside, on patios, and should max out at 50 percent capacity. The Inn at Little Washington, which planned on re-opening on May 15, needs a little more time to prepare, so they’ve pushed back their date to May 29. However, chef Patrick O’Connell (a former theater major, if it wasn’t extremely obvious), decided to fill his dining rooms with mannequins for funsies. Servers will be required to speak to the mannequins and serve them wine, which makes for excellent theatre but is otherwise a waste of perfectly good product. Perhaps this is part of O’Connell’s larger, more lasting vision—dinner as theater for the forseeable future. Or maybe he’s bored just like the rest of us.
“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,” O’Connell told the Washingtonian. Again, comfort levels with inanimate objects vary by the individual and while I cannot be sure that these dolls wouldn’t come to life when your back is turned, I think that’s part of the fun.