Photo Credit: Netflix
The scene is iconic. Small tables sprinkled across a beige-tiled floor. Windows, dressed with checkered curtains, overlook a nosy but lovable New England town. The walls are covered by black-and-white photographs (relics from a hardware store of yore), a no-cell-phone sign and a chalkboard announcing the daily pancakes special. Elsewhere, ketchup bottles, mustard bottles, slices of homemade pie. A Formica counter is lined by thin stools and topped with just-baked donuts, pastries, muffins and of course … coffee.
Here coffee is brewed inside one of those oversized, vintage contraptions that stands stoically in a world of high-techiness as a caffeinated—if not outdated—symbol of the eatery in which it’s housed: Luke’s Diner. A place where classic meets comfort, old meets new and everyone who walks through the door is sure to meet Lorelai and Rory Gilmore.
Throughout seven seasons of Gilmore Girls, Luke’s Diner was the cozy, Stars Hollow spot that saw the mother-daughter Gilmore duo flinging french fries and obscure literary references, home to some of the saddest, sweetest moments the series ever produced.
And tomorrow, Luke’s Diner, the fictional coffee shop once only a thing of our quaintest dreams, is coming to real life. Well, sort of.
Wednesday, Oct. 5, on the exact 16th anniversary of the show’s premiere, 200 participating businesses across the country will “transform themselves into Luke’s Diners,” Netflix announced in a recent press release. The streaming media company is debuting a much-anticipated Gilmore Girls reboot Nov. 25.
As the Netflix story goes, at 7 a.m. until noon, coffee shops from Beverly Hills to Boston will become Luke’s Diners, touting official merch like hats, mugs and aprons that customers can purchase at each location, and giving out 200-250 free cups of coffee. (Check out the complete list of Luke’s Diners here. And click here to buy any of the items being sold at Luke’s nationwide.) Netflix also teased that patrons should watch for “a fun surprise under their custom Gilmore Girls coffee sleeve,” so there’s that.
But like any good tale, this one’s got a twist. The purported “transformations” of the 200 businesses seem to be occurring with varying degrees of change; while a few shops may be wholly transformed, others are just stirring in the spirit of Luke’s to their regular, java-infused fare. As a representative from Virtuoso Cafe in San Diego explained, “If reading [the Netflix press release], you get the impression that Cafe Virtuoso has been remodeled … it hasn’t.”
Instead, the SoCal coffee purveyor will be serving free-of-charge coffee from 6:30 a.m. to noon (notably, a half hour earlier than the 7 a.m. start for other shops). “The baristas are wearing flannel and the hats and aprons but that’s about it,” the Virtuoso rep explained, adding that there will also be familiar Luke’s Diner signs displayed around the cafe and each coffee cup will have a code at the bottom to enter to win a free Netflix subscription. Something tells me this is the aforementioned “fun surprise …”
In Long Beach, CA at Fox Coffee House, another surprise: Owner Mary Gallagher isn’t just offering coffee in Luke’s Diner cups, she’s putting the Luke spin on her food, too. “We are also baking some of the girl’s favorite goodies,” she explained, which means expect sugary deliciousness to ensure. (Any true fan knows the Gilmore diet is essentially made of breakfast pastries, pizza, Chinese takeout and caffeine.)
A few miles north in Los Angeles, popular coffeehouse Comoncy will be getting in on the Luke’s Diner action at its Beverly Hills and Studio City stores. Much like Virtuoso, Comoncy will adorn its walls with iconic Luke’s Diner signage, give away 200-250 free cups of coffee for first arrivals and serve its coffee in Luke’s Diner cups, which feature memorable Gilmore Girl’s quotes. (Crossin’ my fingers and baby toes for, “I love you, you idiot.”)
“Our servers will be dressed in Luke aprons and Luke hats, as well as flannels, just like Luke himself would have worn,” revealed Amber Ann Jamal, Comoncy Marketing and PR Manager. “We think our customers will be excited to be able to take photos with a life-size cut-out of Luke.”
As for why the Netflix/Gilmore Girls promo at Comoncy, Jamal said, “Luke’s Diner was an iconic community staple in the show, and being a privately owned small business that is community-driven, we couldn’t have thought of a more perfect fit.”
UPDATE: A life-size cut-out of Luke may have been fun to pose with for pictures but the real thing was probably waaay cooler. Yep, Luke Danes himself (actor Scott Patterson) showed up at Comoncy Beverly Hills to treat coffee-goers to the ultimate, Gilmore Girl-iest experience ever.