Does a menu of "observe only" items where "each dish is less than a bite" sound too good (or bad) to be true? That's because it is. Meet the culinary — excuse me, comedic — genius behind Abbrev's, Austin's hottest fake restaurant.
Local comedian Danny Palumbo, with the help of his brother Anthony and fellow funny man Ramin Nazer, has launched a very real website dedicated to a very fake restaurant that satirizes the local culinary scene.
Riffing on Austin's obsession with fine dining trends, the Abbrev's website details a menu where each dish's name is an abbreviated play on words, and patrons are served ridiculously tiny bites of normal food items like pea soup and mashed potatoes. Abbrev's features miniscule takes on classics, like a skewer of very tiny tacos called F.G. Taco; the Mostly Garnish, which is exactly what it sounds like; and the Tun N' Foie, a menu item that is so delicate and small it can only be seen through a magnifying glass.
"The hope is to create an entirely new dining experience where the 'eater' is only somewhat satisfied, but thoroughly intrigued," reads the satirical website, which launched Tuesday.
Abbrev's pokes fun at other hot culinary trends and restaurant exclusivity. For instance, the restaurant is only open from 7-8 pm Monday through Saturday and, like most of Austin, there is no parking. In addition to the pages detailing Abbrev's variety of eats and drinks, there is also an entire photo gallery dedicated to showing off "Chef Palumbo's" wide array of tattoos (which, like the menu items, are not real). "Favorite tattoo is definitely 'I'm A Chef,'" Palumbo tells CultureMap. "[It was] also my brother's idea. He's not a comedian, by the way."
If Danny Palumbo brings the comedy to the project, then brother Anthony, an actual chef, brings the culinary experience to the table. The two collaborated on every detail of this fake restaurant, even down to actually cooking and photographing each of the dishes. "He works like 60 hours a week as an executive chef at a country club," Palumbo says. "Comedy's my dumb thing. It's cool that I get to involve my brother with any idea I have."
Before Abbrev's, the pair worked on a fake children's fine dining restaurant called Lil 'Buco. "We wanted to do another concept restaurant and it seemed logical to make everything tiny. Small plates are a trend, so we were just like, 'Oh, we could have a lot of fun with this.' And that's what it is. It's my brother and I coming up with the ideas while drinking."
When he's not coming up with new restaurant ideas, Palumbo (the comedian, not the chef) can be found hosting Jazz Cigarette every other Monday at Spider House Ballroom.