Lots of Laughs but Very Little Food at Fake Austin Restaurant

PHOTO: A fake restaurant in Texas pokes fun at foodie culture.Danny Palumbo
A fake restaurant in Texas pokes fun at foodie culture.

Foodies. Chances are you know and love at least one. But the thing about foodies is that they can be sort of ... pretentious. Also insufferable. With their nom-noms, and their mouth feel, and artisanal this and locally sourced that. Just go eat a burger already.

One chef-turned comedian, Danny Palumbo, has married his two loves. It's child is Abbrev's, a fake restaurant with a very real website. The Austin-based "restaurant" concept is to have very, very tiny food. Think steak and mashed potatoes servings so small they fit on the blade of a butter knife. Abbrev's is short for abbreviated, and the restaurant's menu items also have short names. A ravioli and meatball dish half the size of the head of a fork is "rav'n ball." Pea soup is just a few drops in a bowl and called "p sup."

PHOTO: A fake restaurant in Texas pokes fun at foodie culture.Danny Palumbo
A fake restaurant in Texas pokes fun at foodie culture.

But the funniest dish may be "Mostly Garnish (for observation only)."

PHOTO: A fake restaurant in Texas pokes fun at foodie culture.Danny Palumbo
A fake restaurant in Texas pokes fun at foodie culture.

This isn't the first time Palumbo has launched a fake restaurant. Lil Buco is a fake fine dining restaurant for kids that was so convincing, "people were Googling the address," he said.

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Poking fun at fine dining was an idea that came from a conversation between Palumbo and his brother, Anthony (who is a real chef), after seeing a chef post on Facebook a photo of what was labeled a "deconstructed BLT." Palumbo said.

"It was pork belly, romaine lettuce and grilled heirloom tomato on a plate -- separately," Palumbo said. I was like, 'Well, this is ridiculous and contrived,' so we started talking about doing awful, pretentious things with food."

Palumbo takes his fake restaurant seriously.

"First of all, I spent like $300 on fake tattoos, head shots, Web design and the food, in general. I made foie gras tacos. And maybe we could have used something that looked like foie, but I was like, 'No it's gotta be foie. Commit to the idea.' Somebody was like, 'You could just Photoshop the tattoos.' No, it's gotta be real."

PHOTO: A fake restaurant in Texas pokes fun at foodie culture.Danny Palumbo
A fake restaurant in Texas pokes fun at foodie culture.

"I think that's why people respond to it so well," he said. "It looks like we put a lot of work into it, and it makes absolutely no sense that we would do that. I hope people see the tiny ravioli and just say, 'Why?'"

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