cooks in kitchen with caption 'when in fact it was a chaotic culinary adventure' (l) security cam footage of fake restaurant filled with diners with caption ' and fooled 120 very posh Upper Eastsiders' (c) cooks in kitchen with caption 'helmed by a bunch of 20-somethuing with no restaurant experience: (r)

@athena.banana/TikTok Remix by Caterina Cox

‘Gaslighting the rich is absolutely iconic’: Tech worker says she worked at New York’s ‘most exclusive’ steakhouse that was really a viral prank

'When you open a successful business…as a prank.'


Tiffanie Drayton


Posted on Oct 4, 2023

A tech worker has gone viral online for successfully pulling off a once-in-a-lifetime prank.

In a viral TikTok that has racked up over 3.4 million views and hundreds of thousands of likes, user Athena (@athena.banana) explained how she and her friends got away with opening a fake five-star steakhouse.

@athena.banana Cooking at nyc's most exclusive restaurant #nycfood #pranks #mehranssteakhouse #finedining ♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey

“I was a chef at New York’s most exclusive restaurant, but I don’t actually know how to cook,” the tech worker revealed in the clip.

Apparently, a few years ago, three college roommates got together to pull off a strange prank based on their biweekly homemade steak dinner ritual. The trio listed a fake New York City restaurant on Google Maps called “Mehran’s Steak House” and convinced others to give the pretend eatery great reviews on the website. Based on these reviews, it became “the best steakhouse on the Upper East Side,” but the prank didn’t end there.

Thousands of New Yorkers discovered the highly-reviewed fake restaurant and inundated it with reservations. That’s when the prank was taken to a whole new level.

“So to fulfill their promises, the pranksters opened an actual restaurant for just one night and fooled 120 very posh Upper East Siders into believing they were dining at this exclusive steakhouse,” she continued.

However, according to Athena, the whole endeavor was just a “chaotic culinary adventure,” which required the help of a bunch of 20-something-year-old students and engineers with absolutely zero culinary experience. The makeshift culinary team put together a five-course, cow-themed menu named “The Bovine Circle of Life.” It included salad, veal meatballs, steak, dessert, and milk from “Philip” the “Ugandan cow,” which was poured from a gallon jug. They even staged a fake proposal and had fake Drake fans stand outside with signs screaming for the rapper as if he were dining inside.

In the end, the prank seemed to be a success.

“I love that most diners had a great time and were blissfully unaware of the chaos around them,” the TikToker said.

In the comments section, many celebrated the successful prank.

“When you open a successful business…as a prank,” one user wrote.

“Put it on your resume …,” another advised.

The Daily Dot contacted Athena and Mehran’s Steak House for comment via email.

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*First Published: Oct 4, 2023, 5:19 pm CDT