A Funny Thing Happened at Nuela Last Night

Even more exciting than Nuela's arroz con pato.
Even more exciting than Nuela's arroz con pato. Photo: Roxanne Behr/New York Magazine

Everybody in the restaurant got free airline tickets to South America! No joke: The Pan-Latin eatery was selected as the location for LAN airlines to promote its “Only in South America” campaign (thought last night’s move seems more like only on Oprah to us). Cameras circulated throughout dinner, and most guests had no idea why (Grub Street had been told there would be a surprise). Then, around 8 p.m., we noticed a hubbub at a round table in the middle of the dining room as some women dressed in stewardess uniforms handed the guests something. “Those look like airline tickets,” said a girl at the next table over.

Suddenly Nuela’s manager came on a loudspeaker announcing the giveaway — to three tables. When LAN V.P. Pablo Chiozza addressed the restaurant next, he broke the news that everyone, in fact, would get airline tickets to a destination of their choice in South America — tickets were taped underneath each table. He was then drowned out by shouting and high-fiving as the place exploded with excitement (see video over on Eater). Fleets of waiters appeared with a Champagne toast, and for a moment it felt like New Year’s or possibly a major sporting victory. Chiozza told us later he wanted to do something more than just advertise on the subway, something that would “make an impact.” For everyone dining at Nuela last night, mission accomplished.