It seems that Sydneysiders like their burgers with a spicy side.
Karen’s Diner has found that treating customers meanly does indeed keep them excited. The waiting list to dine at World Square’s rudest restaurant has grown so long that owner, Adam Levin, decided to open a second location in the Top Ryde Shopping Center on May 27.
“We’d say we’re really excited to see you, but we’d be lying,” said a spokesperson for Karen’s Diner.
“It’s all about telling you the cold hard truth about yourself.”
Rather than uphold the principles of the hospitality industry, this concept restaurant’s service staff has been tasked with engaging in unfettered chatter with their customers.
From uttering insults, berating tips and covering customers’ faces with paper bags, the waiters go above and beyond to “unleash their inner Karen”. Diners who dare to complain meet the manager, aka the ultimate Karen.
“It’s certainly a unique concept, but one that people seem to love,” Levine says.
“We see dinners getting fully booked weeks in advance”.
The concept has its origins in a widespread internet meme referring to middle-class white women engaging in lawful behavior towards service workers. But the diner doesn’t take itself too seriously: anyone named Karen brave enough to enter the restaurant is treated to a free drink.
While some consider the interactive dining experience kid-friendly, the restaurant warns, “It’s not Disneyland.” Families with children are not recommended to attend dinner after 6 PM.
The restaurant describes its food as “kick-ass” and “heavy cholesterol,” with a menu of American burgers such as Karen has real beef, with barbecued slow-cooked beef brisket, bacon, coleslaw, caramelized onion and honey-glazed barbecue sauce.
Drinks abound here, with a wide variety of thickshakes, floats, cocktails and shooters with colorful names such as ‘I’ve been wait 10 minutes for some service’ (a brew from Kahlua and Baileys) and ‘The music is too loud’ (a combination of peach schnapps, Baileys and grenadine).
The new restaurant will join franchises in Brisbane, Melbourne and the United Kingdom, and will open several locations in the United States and Canada.
Karen’s Diner, Top Ryde Shopping Centre, corner of Devlin Street and Blaxland Road, Ryde, bemorekaren.com