In celebration of National Golden Girls Day, a six-month pop-up Golden Girls Kitchen opens in Beverly Hills on Saturday, July 30, as the start of a countrywide tour that will include New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Miami, where the Emmy Award-winning show was set.
The sitcom, created by Susan Harris, ran from 1985 to 1992, and starred Rue McClanahan, Bea Arthur, Estelle Getty and Betty White, the last surviving member who died this past December. The four older women shared a home, spending many days and nights discussing life’s ups and downs over cheesecake in the kitchen.
Nostalgic pop-up meister Derek Berry, who brought Saved by the Max, Good Burger and The Peach Pit dining experiences to life, teamed up with the Bucket Listers events site for a fully immersive restaurant experience. They recreated the famous kitchen, character Blanche’s notorious bedroom, and designed an original menu that includes the roommates’ iconic dessert provided by L.A.’s own East Side Cheesecakes, in chocolate, strawberry, pumpkin and Oreo flavors.
Also on the menu are Sophia’s lasagna al forno, made by L.A. chef Royce Burke, as well as Miami-style Cuban sandwiches and a selection of St. Olaf sweets like Sperheoven Krispies, Genurkenflurgen Cake and Blanche’s Georgia Style Cookie.
“We were looking for which moments fans would like to see us create,” Berry tells L.A. Weekly on the lanai facing Bedford Drive. “There was always a risqué reference to Blanche’s bedroom, so we brought back the banana leaves and famous pink carpet for a great Instagram-able moment.”
“In the kitchen, we tracked down some of the show’s most memorable items like the lobster mold, duck cookie jar and tea kettle,” says Berry. “We went back and looked at all the episodes to make sure we had the right amount of cabinets in the kitchen and have a painting in there that’s identical to the one in the show. We want people to hop in and take these authentic photos reflecting those important moments.”
Out of overwhelming demand from all generations, Berry and the Bucket Listers chose the older show that covered new ground at the time, often using gay-themed storylines, which were rare for TV then, for the pop-up, in contrast to the younger crowds they usually cater to. In reality, Blanche’s character was the same age as singer Jennifer Lopez, who turned 53 this month.
“I always wanted to do something more generational,” Berry says. “Pop-ups aren’t something the older crowd is as familiar with and this one can be shared by families. If a show can stay relevant as long as The Golden Girls in syndication and now streaming between Hulu and Hallmark and create merchandise deals – it means something.”
This article first appeared in LAWeekly.com