Monday, June 10, 2013

Prime rib only $1.25

How’s this for a deal?

There’s a famous restaurant in Los Angeles (and now a few other places) called Lawry’s. It specializes in prime rib. Even if you’re vegan you gotta try this prime rib. A clogged artery or two is a small price to pay for a slab of this he-man delicacy. Lawry’s is an LA institution like the Hollywood sign and silicone breasts. The prime rib is cut at your table. Don’t worry though. You don’t have to pick out your cow. But it is sliced to your specifications and accompanied by Yorkshire pudding, potatoes, and a great salad that’s tossed in a spinning bowl. Lettuce is so much better spun. Needless to say, Lawry’s is an “event” place. You’re not going to swing by there for a light bite. Following their meal, satisfied customers are usually rolled out to their cars.

You may also have heard of Lawry’s because the week before the Rose Bowl they invite both teams to engage in “the Beef Bowl.” Now they’re all just fed a hearty meal. Years ago there was an actual competition to see which team could eat the most. But after they finished off the entire cattle population of Montana one year, the owners decided to scale back. Still, it’s a shining example of gluttony.

You also may know Lawry’s from their seasoned salt.

Lawry’s turns 75 this month. And how’s this for a celebration? Tomorrow , the original Lawry’s on La Cienega will offer prime rib at the same 1938 price: From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the first 1,000 customers pay $1.25 for the "Lawry cut" prime rib with Yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes and a "Spinning Bowl" salad.  You can't beat that offer!

No reservations. Start lining up now.

But it brings up the question: What would you stand in a long line for? What would you pull an all-nighter for?

When I was in college I pulled all-nighters every year to get basketball season tickets in the students section. Tickets came to twenty-five cents per game, we sat at center court, and it was UCLA. We won the National Championship every year I was there. So that I felt was worth sitting on a cold sidewalk for nine hours with two thousand other totally drunk vomiting Bruins.

But standing in line for movie openings makes no sense to me. A concert, perhaps. A one-time only event, sure. But a movie is a one-time every two hours event. Instead of waiting in line for twenty-four hours on Thursday night, take a half day off of work and go Monday morning. You walk right into the theater and choose between the four hundred empty seats. It’s the same Superman.

I know there’s the “event” factor, fans want to see it first, and there’s a real party atmosphere. I love that people dress in costumes --for the Triumph the Insult Comic Dog interviews alone.

But that brings up a second question (or sub question to the first question): I wore a Superman cape… when I was six. At what age is that no longer appropriate, even under the influence of alcohol? I’m going to take a wild stab and say if you’re thirty-five and wearing a Superman cape in public you damn well better BE Superman.

When I was in Cleveland last year with the Mariners people were lined around the block at 1:00 a.m. to get into a new casino. That was nuts. Folks waiting hours just to lose their money.

And the madness continues. People start lining up for Black Friday sales on Tuesday now. What happens is the first six get giant flatscreen TV’s for fifteen dollars, and the rest are just fucked. Are the other deals really THAT stupendous? Enough that it’s worth living on the street in the cold of November and missing Thanksgiving (although missing Thanksgiving could be the perk depending on your family)?

For me, it’s bad enough there are long lines I have to stand in – TSA security, immigration, anything at the post office. So I won’t be joining you tomorrow at Lawry’s. I find it so much easier to just be super charming and have someone treat me to dinner. Of course then I might have to put out.


Carol said...

I'd probably would have stood in line if Sir Patrick Stewart and David Tennant's Hamlet had ever come to the US. (Thank goodness for the DVD)

Personally I think one is never too old for 'cosplay'. (As long as you're doing it at an appropriate event and not your Aunt Mabel's funeral)

I remember seeing a gentleman at at Star Trek convention who had to be in his 60s dressed in a perfect replca of the uniform from Wrath of Khan. And I'm in my forties and already planning my costume to the Doctor Who convention in Long Island. So there. :)

Never too late to have a happy childhood. That's my motto!

Wendy M. Grossman said...

I can't think of a single thing I'd stand in line all night for. I hate standing in line for even five minutes. (I arrive hours early at airports to avoid the lines, and sprint past everyone sitting ahead of me on the plane...and when I do have to wait, I read copies I keep handy of The New Yorker to distract me so I won't yell at everyone in sight.)

The one that gets me is standing online to get into the Apple store for a new gadget that's being mass-produced. WHY?


Johnny Walker said...

Damn, if I was there I'd totally go and do that. I've never eaten and Lawry's and now I really want to.

Last time I was in LA I spent an hour or so waiting to get tickets for THE BOOK OF MORMON through their lottery. Hardly an all-nighter, though.

This week I'm planning on spending several hours (maybe three or four) waiting in line to try and get tickets to see my favourite Hollywood writer (sorry Ken) JOSS WHEDON here in London. There's two events, the premiere of his new film, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, followed by a Q&A, and I desperately want to go to both.

I've already entered every competition I can find to win tickets, so now I'm going to take the afternoon and either buy a returned ticket or an unused reserved seat. Bottom line: I simply MUST attend, and I'm prepared to do just about anything to get tickets.

Although, I must admit, I wouldn't wait all night. In fact, I can't think of anything I'd wait all night for. A million dollars? The second coming of Christ? Hmm.

@Carol: I like your motto! :)

John said...

Back in 1971, I waited from before dawn for New York Knicks playoff tickets, which were being sold for the first time at remote locations away from Madison Square Garden via a revolutionary concept called Ticketon (now Ticketmaster). In this case, the Ticketron location happened to be in the branch of the Chase Manhattan Bank in Chase's world headquarters, across the street from the Federal Reserve Building in Lower Manhattan.

The tickets went on sale at 9 a.m., which coincided with the regular business hours, and gave the term "run on the bank" a whole new meaning when they opened the doors. Needless to say, in 1972, the Tocketron branch was no longer in the branch of the Chase Manhattan Bank in Chase's world headquarters.

Also -- and completely unrelated -- here's the website of a combination cattle auction barn and steakhouse west of Fort Worth in Texas. so I suppose you can actually pick out your cow there, though I don't believe the place has a on-site butcher.

Bri said...

Clevelanders were desperate to make their lives worse; that's just how they live. Look at the Indians pitching staff.

Anyway, the one time I went to a casino, it was closed. I just shoved my money under the door.

Unknown said...

Things I will "dress up" for:

1. Weddings
2. Kennedy Center Plays
3. Sex - if she's actually worth it.
4. Job Interviews

Things I will stand in line for:

1. Free booze at a Wedding.
2. Kennedy Center Tickets
3. Sex - if she's actually worth it.
4. Seeing the boss get fired.

Jim McClain said...

The Black Friday thing I totally understand. Quite often, they're people with low or no income who are trying to stretch out what little money they have for Christmas. Some of my students get nothing at all for presents. Is that normal? I don't know. But I have seen it done for that very reason.

Tom Quigley said...

With my typical luck, I'm usually the one standing in line immediately AFTER the person who got the last one of whatever it was I was standing in line waiting for... My life is a Woody Allen film...

Andy Ihnatko said...

Standing in line for hours usually causes me to invoke the "Not As Young As I Once Was" clause. That said, I'm glad I went to the first-day midnight showing of Star Wars Episode 1. Yup, it's silly and sentimental, but it was great to spend a few hours hanging out with the sort of crowd who also were that excited to see the first new Star Wars movies in decades.

Ditto for the lines for the first iPhone and iPad, though today, that's absurd. But who knows? There's always that once-in-a-lifetime thing that seems like it's worth it.

re: dressing up as Superman -- Mmm, it depends on the context. At a comic-con? At a children's hospital? Fab, even admirable. At a bris? No. Unless it was a comic book themed one.

Costuming is an interesting hobby (though I've only observed it from the outside). It's not about the fantasy of "being Superman"'s about being yourself, wearing a costume, which you likely built by hand, acquiring the necessary skills as you went.

Many costume wearers add a civic function to the hobby, visiting sick kids and also lending a flair to charity functions.

And as comics and sci-fans get older and the conventions become more family-oriented, the folks in costume add a terrific element. Time and time again, I see a five year old who, to his or her eyes, is actually getting to meet Superman and Spider-Man and the rest. I think about how I would have reacted at that age and it really makes me smile, and want to buy Superman a beer.

Anyway. It's a good thing to have a passion about the things you like, to express that passion in appropriate ways at appropriate times and places, and to appreciate that to other people this will all seem Rather Odd. Being at a football game with your face and chest painted in team colors is great fun, but then it's a lonnnnng ride home on the subway afterward.

Tom Quigley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Quigley said...

One more (unrelated to my previous) thought: Can't you just picture some 95-year old codger who vaguely remembers the day Lawry's opened and upon hearing about the offer, exclaims "Well, I see Lawry's still hasn't lowered their prices. They were expensive then and they still are..."

Howard Hoffman said...

When I first started coming to L.A. In the '70s, I had two destinations for dinner. One was the rib joint on Sunset and Crescent Heights which had the giant circular pedal-activated sink in the middle of the dining room to wash up after eating (and they always played XTRA out of Tijuana on the radio).

The other was Lawrys. I never forgot how the plate looked like a forensic scene BEFORE I even set a fork to it. I was also fascinated by Yorkshire pudding which I learned how to make at home. I'd make it just to have with a burger, a PB&J sandwich, whatever. Because it's y'know, YORKSHIRE PUDDING! And of course the taller the waitress, the better the salad show since they poured the dressing into the spinning bowl from high above their heads. Yeah, it made the salad taste better somehow. Unlike the Yorkshire pudding, however, that move never worked well at home.

May future generations know the joy of Lawrys, the original feeding frenzy.

Jim said...

I stood in a line half the night for something once in my life. I was a college student in Terre Haute, Indiana, in the early 1980s. The town's biggest employer was Columbia House, the record club people. Once a year they had a "friends and family" sale in their warehouse -- everything was dirt, dirt cheap. It required tickets, and you had to get them from employees. And then you had to get in line in the middle of the night because the best stuff went fast.

I probably dropped $100 that day on records, but the standing in line stuff was so dreadful that I have never done it again for anything. I can't imagine ANYTHING that I'd stand in line overnight for.

Ben Scripps said...

The only time I've ever stood in line for any length of time was back in college.

A library about two hours south of us did a special sale every year. Somehow this library had built up a massive collection of laserdiscs (this was the early '90s) and VHS movies, and once a year, they'd pare the collection of stuff they didn't need anymore and sell it at ridiculously low prices. $100 box sets of really classic films selling for five bucks, stuff like that.

One of our college professors told us about this sale, and warned us we had to be there early, so my two buddies and I (all of us were laserdisc collectors) got up at 5am and headed south to get in line for the sale which opened at noon. When we got there at 7am, there were already five people in line (impressive considering this library was in the middle of absolutely nowhere). By the time the doors opened at noon, there were at least 250 people behind us (including two of our professors).

It wasn't quite Filene's Basement and the wedding gown sale, but the laserdisc collection was cleaned out in five minutes flat.

Tim W. said...

The last time I stood in line for more than 15 minutes was back before game five of the Blue Jays first world series appearance. I was in university at the time and its not as if we had a whole lot better to do. I think we were in line for 5 or 6 hours, and while I enjoyed watching the game live, I won't line up that long again.

Ben said...

Teams still compete to win the Beef Bowl every year. And now there's a separate competition before the Cotton Bowl at the Lawry's in Dallas (I don't know how that stays open since no one's ever there.)

Brent said...

The only time I can recall ever standing in line for hours was to get tickets to the NBA Finals in Seattle against the Bullets (now known as the Wizards) in 1978. No online anything then; you just stood in line. It was for Game 4 in the Kingdome (Coliseum had been booked for an RV show, and when we started the season 5-17 no one thought there'd be any chance of a conflict) so there were enough seats that a regular person might actually get a ticket.

The night of the game I had a tire blow out on the Evergreen Point floating bridge. Ran it on the rim for a mile to get off the bridge, ruining the aluminum wheel (the fine if they had to tow you off was huge, much more than the cost of a replacement wheel), got the spare on (in the rain, of course) and got to the game at half-time. We lost.

Cap'n Bob said...

One time I lined up at a boathouse to get a boat for a fishing derby. About a dozen of us waited half the night and about 10 minutes before the boathouse opened hundreds of dolts tried to crash the line. Pandemonium ensued.

My younger daughter insisted we not only buy advance tickets for the first Harry Potter movie, but show up at the theater three hours early for the local premiere. We managed to sit in front of the only pinhead in the joint that ignored the TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE admonition.

I hate lines and the only one I would stand in today would be to witness the execution of the Clintons.

Jeffrey Mark said...

My best friend in college (who is your exact double, Ken) and I stood in the hot sun at the Cow Palace for over 12 hours waiting to see the Rolling Stones. Ahh, there's nothing like getting stoned all day long in the hot sun. And then we got inside and waited another 2 hours till Mick and the boys came on. Got pretty good seats and could smell Keith Richards' cigarette smoke.


I've never stood in line for anything! I can't think of anything I would stand in line for. I'm beginning to think I'm not as interesting as I think!

YEKIMI said...

The only thing I stand in line for is the bathroom. Oh, and the local grocery stores...72 fucking registers and they only open 2 or 3 of them up. More then once I've left a basket full of groceries standing there as I had reached my wait limit. Use the self-pay lanes? Hah! Either eats your money, you need "approval" to buy a certain item or just flat out malfunctions and you'd be able to conceive and have a baby before someone comes over to fix it. Life's too short to stand in line for anything and now that I've found out I have some heart blockage, my life may be even shorter so I may not even wait in line for the bathroom anymore.

cadavra said...

Lawry's is my "birthday" restaurant. Always one of my favorite meals of the year. (Though I try to go once or twice more as well.)

I might stand in line for sex with Salma Hayek, but that would kinda defeat the enjoyment, eh?

Hollywoodaholic said...

Obviously, no one here's ever been to Disney World or Disneyland, the Olympics of line-standing-in. And if you think it's hard for YOU to stand in line anymore, think of how excruciating it is for your 10-year old who you're standing in line for.

But maybe that's what the parks are all about - line tolerance training. Once you've stood in line as a 10 year-old for an hour or two, every line you ever face in life from that moment on is just Mickey Mouse.

BigTed said...

I work just a few blocks from Lawry's, so I'd consider it if I had the time. But missing (I'm guessing) two to three hours during a deadline-heavy period at my job wouldn't be worth the savings.

Tom Galloway said...

Re: Superman costumes. One adult who's gotten a lot of mileage out of his is editorial cartoonist/comic strip artist Mike Peters.

His wife made him one for Halloween. He decided it wasn't enough to just get the one use out of it, so he once, while dressed in it, stood on a upper story window ledge at the Dayton Daily News so that once the daily editorial meeting started he could enter through the window and apologize that he was late due to air traffic over Cleveland.

Later, when working at home, he got a frantic call from his, if I'm recalling correctly, then 14 year old daughter asking him to bring some forgotten homework to her at school "as quick as he could". So he walked into her classroom in full Superman regalia saying "You said you wanted it quick...". He did say she eventually started speaking to him again.

And finally, last year giving the commencement address at his alma mater, Washington University:

Mike Botula said...

About the only thing I'll wait for is a table at a restaurant I'm really "Jonesing" to eat at. That said, there better be a watering hole. Sardi's comes to mind in NY, or Scoma's in San Francisco is another. I've just about given up on air travel and am waiting for teleportation to be invented.

chuckcd said...

AS I have gotten older, my tolerance for line standing has gotten shorter.

Back in college did a couple of those "big event" movie openings, but
would not do that now.

I use Ken's trick and go when the theater is empty.

Johnny Walker said...

I know it's a bit late, but if you haven't seen it, Neil Patrick Harris knocks it out the park again for the opening of the Tony's.

Verna said...

I've been to Disneyland and the Olympics (Equestrian Events-if that counts). No standing in line with either. Disneyland is just a matter of timing and priorities and well . . . the Olympics only the horses stood in line.

crackblind said...

I have the hardest time explaining to my kids why my time is more valuable than waiting on line like this for a free something. Whenever Ben & Jerry's or Dunkin Donuts has their free days and we walk past the line snaking down the block, I try to give them an economics lesson about how the hour wait is not worth the $3 dollars or so we are saving and it's a better deal to just buy it when there isn't a line.

Then the next time we pass the place and they point out that there's no line, I have to explain to them that I'm cheap.

Greg Ehrbar said...

Speaking of Disney, Walt himself used to enjoy the 90-year-old Tam O'Shanter still on Los Feliz, a Lawry's restaurant where he used to dine with Spencer Tracy and others after a polo game.

In the years since to today, Disney artists have made it the place of choice for some prime rib, seasoned salt and good company.

James said...

I've had this discussion with friends. There is nothing worth standing in line for. Not for more than 5 minutes.

Anonymous said...

If you devote a blog post to generate excitement a about a discounted dinner featuring prime rib...

You might be really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, reallyreallyreally...


Bradley said...

Stood in line for 10 hours to see the original Broadway cast of The Producers. It took up an entire day of my New York vacation, but was worth it in the end. The show had only been running a few weeks and the electricity in that room was like nothing I've ever experienced, before or since.

Pat Reeder said...

I don't stand in long lines, especially for movies. That's for suckers. I also am very picky about what I'll pay top dollar to see live. I'd pretty much decided that unless the Kinks regrouped, or half the Beatles came back from the grave, I wouldn't pay more than $40 to see a rock concert. But then, I heard that the Monkees were coming back around to Dallas with Mike Nesmith for the first time in decades.

Front section, 15th row.

Anonymous said...

I have stood in line for several years to get tickets to TIFF (toronto international film festival). It has always been worth it!

Anonymous said...


"...the electricity in that room was like nothing I've ever experienced, before or since."

You probably don't want to make that boast in front of your wife.

Anonymous said...

Well, it is a learning experience. Do it a couple of time to get that flat screen tv and then NOT get it and Amazon looks a lot better. OTOH, a dinner date with Jeri Ryan dressed as 7of9 (her, not me) would be plenty of motivation to sleep outdoors in line for about a week...or two.

Mark P said...

A coworker stood in line for several hours at some ungodly time of the morning so he could get an iPhone a few days before the rest of the world. I never understood that.

OTOH, if your group of friends can only get together on Friday nights, and you don't want to wait a week or two to see a new well-reviewed movie, then braving the opening night crowds is what you do. It's really not bad if you're waiting with friends. And with an action movie, you can't beat the environment of an opening-night audience full of fans.

Some things, of course, you always have to stand in line for. I think we spent over an hour in line for Letterman, and that was with advance tickets.

Storm said...

Carol and Andy; thank you. You both ROCK. And as The Monarch so aptly put it, "I am NOT into cosPLAY, I am into cosBUSINESS!"

Why always with the cheap/easy shots at costumers? For some of us, this is our livelihood, our hobby, our artform; I am a textile artist, and I then wear my art on display and have a bit of fun doing it. Before I lost weight and had my teeth fixed, dressing as a Klingon was the only time I felt beautiful, or worthy of having my picture taken. We tend to stick to our own events/places (though all bets are off if you're with a square mile of Comic Con), and don't bother anyone with our hobby/passion; it's just playing dress up and enjoying yourself and your fandom, and an easy way to find others that dig the same thing you do. Is it really any more absurd than the ridiculous thumbheads that show up at sporting events dressed and painted all crazy to "support their team"? Because, really, that shit is lame. I KNOW I'm not REALLY a Klingon, but those dorks think that by painting their beerbellies with their team colours and screaming their team name in the freezing cold they are somehow affecting the outcome of a game; who REALLY needs a life? We are low-hanging fruit, easy to pick by clutching our capes, free to ridicule because we're silly and we should Grow Up. When you Grow Up, you Grow Old, and your heart dies. No, thanks, I'll keep playing dress up and enjoying my non-life. You keep rooting for sports and teams I know nothing about, I'll leave you to it, and we'll call it a day.

@Pat Reeder: I live in hope of a Kinks reunion, though it wouldn't be quite the same without Pete, and the Davies are better off as brothers and not bandmates; they're a bit old to bash each other with mike stands anymore. Some folk are for the Beatles, the Stones, or the Who, but me? I've always been a Kinks Girl, born and bred. MUSWELL HILLBILLIES FOREVER!

Cheers, thanks a lot,


ChicagoJohn said...

A long time ago, Guitar Center used to hold these huge sales. The catch was always that they had a limited quantity of whatever it was, just to get people lined up at the door in the morning.

This sale was particularly big:
A custom Gibson guitar for $99. (Normally, something like $800?)

I showed up at 6pm, the previous night. It was just as they were closing.
One of the workers saw me sitting down in front of their door and cracked it open.
"Uh, buddy? We're closed"
"Yeah. I know."
"So... what are you doing here?"
"You're having a big sale tomorrow. Right?"
"Gibson guitar for $99?"
"Is it a good guitar?"

I hung out there overnight, and picked up a Gibson for $99 the next day. Its the worst color in the world (probably why Gibson was unloading it), but plays like a dream.