The Steak was Real but the Restaurant was Fake

The only item on the “To Go” menu was the restaurant itself.

How NYC’s fine-dining elite got pranked by Gen Zer’s fake steakhouse — complete with milk servers, ‘celebs,’ and wedding proposal by Hannah Frishberg, September 25, 2023

This Manhattan restaurant is a tough reservation to book — because it doesn’t exist.

The foodie gentry who gathered for their dinner at Mehran’s Steakhouse this weekend believed they’d at last gotten off the years-long waitlist for a highly exclusive, 100-year-old chop house, which finally had an available table at its Lower East Side location.

In reality, what some 140 diners experienced this Saturday evening was an elaborate prank pulled off by a 21-year-old AI startup founder — and some 65 of his friends.

The practical joke of a white tablecloth institution was born during the pandemic, in 2021, when Mehran Jalali’s 16 housemates decided to commemorate the biweekly steak dinners he’d cook them by marking their Upper East Side home as a chop house on Google Maps.

The mostly teenage roomies all left glowing reviews for the newfound institution, leading to intrigued strangers showing up at their door seeking steak.

Mehran then made a website for their solidly booked, “revolutionary steak experience” and, by the end of 2022, had accrued a 2,600-person waitlist. Read the whole article here.