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These NYC Roommates Created a Fake Restaurant and Accidentally Garnered a 2,000-Person Waitlist — So They Opened a Pop-up for Real. The Gen Z'ers dubbed their apartment "Mehran's Steak House" on Google Maps during the pandemic.

By Emily Rella

A group of friends in New York City may have pulled off the ultimate prank after opening a fake restaurant that began as a Google Maps joke, per the New York Times.

During the pandemic, roommates Willy Hopps and Mehran Jalali lived in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan where they would often cook meals together, eventually labeling their apartment on Google Maps as "Mehran's Steak House."

Friends would add fake reviews to the location listing and the roommates made a website where they would take "reservations."

Except there was one problem — over 2,000 people actually signed up to dine at a restaurant that didn't exist.

@willyhopps The in-house story of Mehran's Steakhouse: PART 1 #newyork #finedining #prank ♬ original sound - Willy Hopps

Instead of revealing the entire thing to be a farce, the roommates decided there was nothing left to do — but to actually create a restaurant popup for an evening. After gaining a liquor license, staff, and a venue, the restaurant opened for a one-night pop-up in the East Village last Saturday night.

"I think I counted only 30 or so tables and there were probably 50 people on staff," one diner named Kyle Hertzog told local outlet ABC 7. "You could tell the majority of them probably did not wait a table in their lives."

@nytcooking New York's hottest club is… fake? #nycfood #nycrestaurants ♬ Remedy - Shaq Rayes

The menu included veal meatballs, bruschetta, ribeye steaks, and more.

An ob-gyn who attended the special evening with her husband caught on early that something was amiss.

"We were laughing because it was like, 'Do you think we're being punked?'" Leigh Wade told the Times.

Most diners realized the entire charade was, well, a charade by the end of the night, but according to the New York Post, one diner is actually threatening legal action against the men after being duped.

If you can make it there, you can really make it anywhere!

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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