The memory of Rue McClanahan and her Golden Girls character, Blanche Devereaux, will live on in a brick-and-mortar fashion.
Michael J. LaRue, a resident of New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood, is planning to open up the Rue La Rue Café in August, EW learned in an interview with the up-and-coming restaurateur. “Of course, the contractors say it should open sometime between now and the end of the world,” he jokes.
The restaurant will serve sandwiches, desserts — surely some cheesecake options — and more, with some food options’ inspired by the leading ladies themselves and the characters they iconically portrayed. “We’re going to have Bea Arthur’s pasta salad, Estelle Getty’s chocolate chip cookies, and Rue’s orange poppy seed cake,” LaRue says. “Of course we’ll have Sophia’s lasagna al forno and goodies from St. Olaf by (Betty White’s) Rose.”
Fans of the Golden Girls won’t even have to order a bite to see the history and nostalgia poured into the place. “Rue was labeled a collector and not a hoarder, only because she had enough closets to hide everything in,” LaRue adds. A personal friend of McClanahan’s, he inherited her personal belongings and memorabilia after she died in June 2010, many of which are now finding their way into the restaurant’s décor. Some of the priceless items include her Emmy, notes from her high school days, her prom dress, and a rotating display of outfits Blanche wore on the show. “She was the only Golden Girl to contract that she would keep her wardrobe.”
McClanahan’s son, Mark Bisch, also is LaRue’s partner in the venture. Their biggest hurdle was gaining the rights from the Walt Disney Company, whose Touchstone Television produced the beloved series. “I expected Disney to be hard to get through, but no, once they heard we opening the café they were on board,” LaRue says. “They’re letting us sell unique Golden Girls merchandise that can’t be found anywhere else.”
Fans who want to thank the café’s creator for “being a friend” can head to Rue La Rue Café at 4396 Broadway in Washington Heights, Manhattan when it opens in August.