Back in the tail end of 2014, Jessica Biel announced that she’d be opening an ultra-exclusive, all-organic restaurant for kids. At the time, I was fascinated by the choice, both because it fell so in line with the Goops and the Livelys and every other waifish ingenue offering their catelogue-ready lifestyle to us at prices no actual regular human could possibly resist laughing at— and also because of its name. This decadent kids’ restaurant with a name straight out of a faux Parisian Little Rascals-inspired SNL sketch that makes me disgusted with myself for how much I love it: the restaurant’s name is Au Fudge. And, like any healthy American equal parts invested in and grossed out by celebrity culture, I’ve been both desperate to visit and hoping it will fail in some spectacular fashion. For pop culture/celebrity culture (is there even a difference anymore? Probably, but it’s arbitrary and meaningless) people, this is our NASCAR. We love to watch, and we secretly hope it’ll burn down in front of us so we can praise ourselves for never getting into (ignoring the fact that we were never invited into or had access to) the car.
So today’s news that this particular celebrity lifestyle car had gone up in overpriced, unhygienic flames was a nice breath of schadenfreude. What makes it even better is that Jessica Biel’s kids’ restaurant is basically exactly what a restaurant opened by any one of us normal humans would look like. Like, to the letter. Here’s a rundown of what this place loks like:
It doesn’t have a kids’ menu.
Oh, did you think that because a restaurant was for kids and had a super cute kids-style name, that it would actually want to feed children? No, they have an $18 stack of “mediocre” pancakes, a brownie case, and a whole bunch of booze. Let me say that again…
There’s a whole lot of booze
Originally, when Biel was doing press for this place, she said she wanted someplace parents could bring their kids without anxiety, saying “We just want you to feel stress free about it.” As it turns out, what that means is that they will serve you a crap ton of booze while you let your kids wander in the “play area.” According to one guest, the reason why there’s no kids’ menu is because of all the pages (well, all of two) are taken up with the drink menu. Most of which have overtly sexual names and descriptions. Not that I’m booze-shaming, but this is, ostensibly, still a family/children’s restaurant, right?
A children’s restaurant with a huge, elegant bar?
They DO try to make the adult food cute.
So there’s no kids’ menu, and the adult food is way overpriced. Well, at least they’re going to try to make the food look cute for the kids who have to eat it. Wait, melted ghoul snowman birds are cute, right?
It’s dirty. Like with straight-up dirt.
One guest’s review: “My cup’ still had lipstick stains,” fumed the guest. “We waited 45 minutes to get our crappy food and when it arrived it had dirt all over the side of the plate… [the staff] didn’t even apologize.” Where are they getting their plates from that there’s dirt on them? Are they using fresh farm-to-table plates and cutlery? Because that actually seems on brand.
Here’s the thing: I totally get and love the concept of a nice restaurant for parents where no one looks at you when your kid starts screaming or even just playing. It’s in line with the genius idea of kid-friendly movie matinees. But even as a childless being, I recognize that that idea is very different from what seems to be happening at Au Fudge: namely, that this is a horribly run restaurant that doesn’t realize if it takes 45 minutes for kids to get their pancakes, they’re going to scream a bunch. It sounds like they’ve given themselves permission to have horrible service because they’ve given kids permission to yell about it.
Has anyone involved in this restaurant actually MET a child?
One review mentioned not being able fit strollers through the aisles. Honestly, who is this place even for because at this point it sounds more like a psychological experiment or possibly a deliberately uncomfortable immersive art project.
Thank you, Jessica Biel, for proving that celebrities really ARE just like us. In that they maybe shouldn’t open a new business that they know nothing about and then expect customers to pay well over market value for their services.