170 Comments
Sep 25, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

What a great ending! An amazing prank, yet the people getting pranked didn't suffer and actually got a good meal out of it. I love this story.

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Me too LH. I was really struck by the fact that they really weren't trying to make anyone look foolish—just having some fun and doing their best to make it a great evening. Everybody wins!

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Yes! Such a delightful turn on a prank. I love the lack of mean-spiritedness and the elaborateness of the execution!

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Sep 25, 2023·edited Sep 25, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

Only a bunch of 20-somethings would put in this much energy into something so pointless 😂 I'm looking forward to seeing what other completely meaningless things they can accomplish in the future! Best part of this story: that comment by your waiter had me roll over laughing.

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LOL it's true. I told Mehran, "You'll go far."

But in what direction?

In truth, to me it's the pointlessness of it all that makes it so great.

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Sep 25, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

Totally! I'm just so grateful that of all the dumb pointless things I did when I was young I never went THAT far!

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I definitely think the long-term, high-effort joke is an under-appreciated ingredient for forming strong bonds with long-time friends. These kind of jokes take on a life in the lore of the friend group and evolve through the ages. I hope that a decade from now some of these friends will be saying "remember ten years ago when we...?" That's really special! The more effort that goes into it, the more spectacularly ridiculous it is, the more it acts as glue between people :) I love it.

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I'm with you Rae! When I met up with Mehran a couple days before the big night, I told him that no matter how it turns out, YOU WILL NEVER REGRET THIS.

You've got me thinking now about why this sort of adventure creates those bonds....

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Definitely agree. I have a couple thoughts on this - my friends are big into putting way too much effort into a joke. For example, we created a holiday called Crab Nebula Day and every year it’s like people are trying to outdo last year, in terms of how ridiculous and over the top the joke becomes. This has resulted in costumes, Maryland crab shipped in, a short film about the history of the Crab Nebula, a remixed song using audio from the short film, and so on. The special part about it is that all the immense effort boils down to one thing: making the other people laugh and have fun. That’s super bonding.

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OMG I LOVE Crab Nebula Day!

This has nothing to do with the bonding aspect, but one thing I like about investing so much into utter nonsense is it's sort of a signal that things are okay—that we can afford it. It's a form of luxury.

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Sep 25, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

A crew at my husband's college put up a fake sign for prospective students and then conducted fake interviews. How could anyone ever forget rigging up a fake restaurant for one night? EPIC

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Would love to hear more about this interview prank!

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Sep 27, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

He says they dug up and re-mounted a signpost for the admissions office, set up a desk, put on suits and ties, and conducted interviews. He doesn't think anyone got in deep trouble.

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Oh that's great! So fun!

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Sep 26, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

I'll get more details for you. He wasn't involved but he did other pranks. He walled someone up in their dorm room, a la Cask of Amontillado, I think.

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Sep 25, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

Hey Mehran, I know you’re reading this. I double doggie dare you to try this again, but vegan. If you think steak people are relentless about trying a new spot, you should see how my people happily line up in a vacant lot by the airport at night to wait for a guy to sell us $7 donuts (that’s per one) out of the back of an ‘87 Dodge Caravan.

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Whoa is this a real thing Marina? You gotta send me the deets!!

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Sep 25, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

We used to do this in Miami. I’m no longer au fait however I’ve heard there’s a park in Lake Mary, FL (O-town suburb) where vegans stand in the hawt sun for a $10 vegan donut and nobody’s mad about it!

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amazing! this totally reminds me of a story several years back about a guy who made his backgarden shed the #1 restaurant on Tripadvisor.... https://www.vice.com/en/article/434gqw/i-made-my-shed-the-top-rated-restaurant-on-tripadvisor

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Oh wow #1 on Trip Advisor IS pretty amazing. And it's great that he also actually went through with creating a restaurant—though a much scrappier affair than Mehran's I have to say.

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Ah yes I was going to link this exact same story! The fact they got diners to eat on the roof of the garden shed always cracks me up 😂😂

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I was just about to comment on the same about The Shed. This is one of my favorite absurd stories. That video is gold.

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Omg this is amazing! The black and white photos made me laugh out loud, such a great touch. This whole story is an answer to your survey - Mehran's courage and persistence to pull this off, and your curiosity in pursuing it.

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I wish I'd had room to include some more photos and also the posters. The care they put into them was really over the top! I wonder how many of the guests even noticed?

Love your point that this is sort of an answer to the survey. Mehran should for sure move back! He at LEAST deserves honorary New Yorker status!

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I disagree with an earlier commenter: bonkers is the perfect word for this whole story. I loved that you were both the author of the murder mystery and a character therein. I give this piece ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Awww thank you Amy! I've never gotten five stars before! I feel like the happiest Beanie Baby on eBay!

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Sep 25, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

I just finished the newsletter about the ultra-exclusive prank-steakhouse. I'm reminded of Groucho Marx's quote that, "I'd never join a club that would have me for a member."

My favorite part remains the guys who refused your inquiries and slammed the door.

The prank was an all-time great prank. Everyone involved in the setup will remain friends forever, laughing all the way into infinity.

Anne, YOU were the catalyst!! It's every bit as intriguing and funny as "The Sting." The question is who will play your part in the movie?? Taylor Swift?!

This prank has screenplay written all over it!! In fact this is Broadway worthy!!

Ask readers to come up with a title: "A Lot At Steak" "Steak'n Shake (down)" "Maybe Dinner at Eight" "I Won't Steer You Wrong" "Reservation to a Prank" "Open the Door to Your Mystery Steak" "Iran a Phantom Steakhouse" "A Prank to Remember" "Giuliani, Party of One"

None of those are worthy.

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ha i think of that quote daily especially when people "like" anything i write or say lol

ps werent those guys who slammed the door doiun a kinda sobriety thing? plus they had that HUGE tv so maybe were busy heeehee

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Yes, it was a sober living house, Mr. King. Though I did not know that at the time.

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LOL these great hilarious JRB!

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there is truly nothing I love more than absurd levels of commitment to a bit. kudos to Mehran and his staff including one Anne Kadet, accomplice and intrepid reporter who made this story available for us all

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"Absurd levels of commitment to a bit"—well said Mr. Dobrenko!

NOW are you going to explain the weird reverse apostrophe after your name?

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This is just SO ... New York City. LOL.

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I know! Could it happen anywhere else? And on so many different levels!

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You write the best tales! I just loved this.

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Awww thank you Gillian. So happy you loved!

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Great story! Thanks for taking us down this rabbit hole with you!!

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So fun, right? Thanks for coming along Mr. Lukas!

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WOW! What a caper! This is like an old school movie!! Kids today are amazing! And good for you for helping make it happen! (My only wish is it had been vegan or vegetarian!!)

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Jane, haha I was wondering how many people might be thinking about the vegetarian/vegan angle. I wonder if that would have made the menu/cooking aspect easier or harder to pull off?

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Maybe you'll discover as much on the next one!

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all this Anne DID make it happen and in her typical modest curious playful way.....maybe Aharon too....but im still on the fence with "him"

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This is proof that people are amazing! Mehran’s commitment to the prank is inspiring honestly!

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So funny how many people feel INSPIRED by a prank. But I feel the same way, Bekka!

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Under the weather. Quick comment. FOMO is a powerful force. Silicon Valley speculators prank the Upper East Side.

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Hope you feel better soon Mr. Dolan!

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I would totally contribute to a Kickstarter to adapt this bonkers story in a film called Steak, Cake & Lies. This story was so freaking good, Anne! I loved everything about it. Thanks for sticking with the mystery and wadding through the challenging ethics of reporting on a prank.

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Thank you Mr. Estrin!

Dang, now I'm thinking "Steak, Cake & Lies" should have been the title for this post!

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That's the beauty of giving this story the film treatment, you get a second bite at the apple, I mean steak, I mean cake.

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You know how I feel about cake...

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