Last week, we reported that Long Island City destination diner M. Wells will be closing at the end of the month due to a lease dispute with the landlord, and now, desperate customers with deep pockets are flooding the restaurant for a last-minute taste of glory.
Shortly after owners Hugh Dufour and Sarah Obraitis announced the impending closure, they also announced a series of $200 a pop "farewell dinners" at the space, with themes like "‘Our Trip to the Fulton Fish Market" and cartoon characters. When we visited the restaurant this weekend for brunch, the line was pushing two hours for a table (who do they think they are, Alexander McQueen?!), and diners were being encouraged to "order as much as you can possibly handle," which lead to some disturbing displays of gluttony.
New Yorkers are no strangers to obscene wait times for a meal (see: Shake Shack, Ippudo, Momofuku, et al), but with many restaurants no longer accepting reservations, we find ourselves increasingly wondering if it's worth it in the end? Maybe so many people line up for restaurant food because fat is flavor and no home cook is using even an eighth of the amount of butter tossed around at M. Wells. And maybe there's a certain unspoken sense of status that comes with plunking down half your paycheck for a marquee meal. Also, some people who see a line just can't resist getting on it, assuming that whatever awaits at the end MUST be worth it.
But will New Yorkers ever reach a breaking point when it comes to waiting "forever" to spend a fortune on food? Or will the situation just keep devolving until there's a permanent tent city waiting outside Torrisi Italian Specialties? What's your limit when you're told how long the wait for a table will be?