Although most of Stephen Starr’s empire is located in Philly, he does also have a couple of restaurants in New York, one of which is a second Buddakan.
Concurrently, a quiet, under-the-radar, and wholly obscure little movie by the name of “Sex and the City” came out last spring and it just so happens that one of the most “important” scenes in that cinematic oeuvre was filmed at New York’s Buddakan. Frank Bruni of the New York Times has a piece up today that is mostly based around a conversation he had with Starr last week about the filming of “Sex and the City,” why Starr did it, and what it has meant for business at Buddakan.
We learn that
Mr. Starr said that when the movie’s producers asked him if they could use his restaurant, he said an instant and emphatic yes, even though it meant shutting the restaurant down for a day and a half of filming.
The movie’s producers, he said, paid him $50,000 to do so. That’s less, he said, than the restaurant’s gross revenue over that period would have been, but he wasn’t troubled by the shortfall. In fact, he said, he would have let the producers use the restaurant for free.
And he would have done so even though he had no guarantee of an explicit reference to Buddakan in the movie, which — to both my recollection and his — did not in fact mention the restaurant by name, at least not before the final credits. (I didn’t stay for those.)
Since the movie was released, hordes and hordes of tourists, trending female, have flooded through the doors of Buddakan, faithfully taking pictures of themselves in the same spot where the “Sex and the City” scene was shot. Although Starr laments all of the Cosmos that his staff has had to mix up, it sounds like he’s basically laughing his way to the bank.
“’Sex’ and the Spring Rolls” [The New York Times]
[Photo: via NYT]