Have You Dined with Us Before?

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CreditPHOTOGRAPH BY MARTIN PARR / MAGNUM

Have you dined with us before? Do you know how it works?

I think you’ll notice that at Finuccio’s Italian Grill we do things just a bit differently.

For example, do you see how I wrote my name in crayon on your table? That’s something that you’ll find only here, at Finuccio’s. Seeing my playfully written name in your periphery throughout your meal will make you feel instinctively close to me. And this is just one of the many things we do at Finuccio’s to make your experience a little more personal.

When you sat down, you may have noticed that there was an unopened bottle of red wine at the center of your table. The seemingly innocuous presence of this bottle will give you license to drink more than you should, guilt-free! After all, you’re not buying a whole bottle of wine—you’re just not removing the one that’s already here! This is another subtle form of manipulation that we brazenly employ here at Finuccio’s!

But that’s not all!

Have you seen our menu? It’s fucking huge! Its shocking girth will unconsciously motivate you to really let loose and gorge yourself on our budget marinara and bulk Parmesan. Our food is served “family style,” which is a vague designation that we say means “intended for sharing.” So when you look at the price you’ll divide it by the number of people who are sitting at your table, and it won’t seem that expensive. Yes, “family style” and “intended for sharing” are simply clever euphemisms for one of the many ways we trick you here at Finuccio’s.

Hear that loud gushing coming from the corner of the restaurant? That’s right—below the poorly painted and vaguely racist mural featuring a swarthy gondolier is our own miniature version of Rome’s famous Trevi Fountain. Feel free to pass by on your way to the bathroom and throw in some change. At night, after everyone has left, we here at Finuccio’s scoop the change out of the water and put it in a jar sarcastically labelled “College Fund.” The reason it’s sarcastic is that we’re not actually using it to attend college but instead are spending it on a makeshift strip club, which Finuccio’s hosts after midnight. You won’t find that after-hours at Olive Garden!

Toward the end of your meal, a kid pursuing a minor in opera studies will serenade you, tableside. His name is Peter, but I’m going to go ahead and tell you that it’s “Fabrizio.” “Fabrizio” will sing the one Italian song you know, “That’s Amore,” to distract you from the additional items that we threw onto your bill. You might ask yourself, Did we really order broccoli rabe? Then “Fabrizio” will sing “pasta fazool” and you’ll think, Who cares?!

Upon leaving the restaurant, you’ll be approached by a man dressed as a maître d’. Actually, he’s a professional pickpocket employed by Finuccio’s. He’s going to shake your hand and ask if you enjoyed everything. But when he shakes your hand he’ll actually be removing your watch and, if applicable, your cufflinks. Here at Finuccio’s, you won’t notice, because you’ll be so taken in by his forced warmth and unplaceable European accent!

Your Finuccio’s experience is not over quite yet. That’s right—as you’re driving home, you’ll notice that you’re being tailed by a red pickup truck. That’s odd, you’ll think. A pickup truck in our quiet suburban neighborhood? What you won’t know is that the man driving the truck is the opera minor’s older brother Carl. Carl is a criminal we hired a few months ago after he threatened to kidnap one of the strippers.

You’ll pull off to the side of the road, in an attempt to let this mysterious truck pass. But when you pull over Carl will also pull over. Oh no, you may think. I wish I were back in the comfort of Finuccio’s, you may continue to think.

Carl will proceed to rob you.

When you arrive home, you’ll notice that the only things Carl neglected to steal were three bags of leftovers from Finuccio’s. Instead of even considering the possibility that Finuccio’s was, in fact, behind the robbery, you’ll think, At least we still have our food! Buoyed by this lucky break, you won’t call the police, and, perversely, you’ll unconsciously associate Finuccio’s with safety and abundance as you dig into a month’s worth of cold fettuccine.

Yes, we really do things differently here at Finuccio’s Italian Grill! So on behalf of me, the fake maître d’, the swarthy gondolier, the serial felon Carl, and his younger brother Peter, thank you for coming in! We can’t wait to take care of you.

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