How a Restaurant Becomes a Set

As soon as I saw the papery cloud of light suspended over Relish last night, I knew my big dinner plans were in trouble.

There were Christmas wreaths in the windows and four big trucks parked out front, with the obligatory guys in backwards baseball caps hurrying in and out with all sorts of stands and supports. My friends and I figured it was Law and Order, but no. It was a commercial, we were told. (For Bloomberg, we assumed.) The restaurant, needless to say, was not open for business.

On the Times’ Fort Greene blog this morning, a location scout explains, in rather exacting detail, the process of choosing where to create such impositions. It’s kind of long–but with all the tax breaks for filming, and New York becoming the new L.A., and all that–it’s probably worth a read. It’s about that the fiming of that new television show Bored to Death (which Sara likes, and which the New Yorker showed up to cover.)

On restaurants, we learn:

Major studio films can afford to buy out restaurants any day of the week. Television shows typically don’t have that kind of budget and we try to schedule that work on a Monday when restaurants are least busy and more likely to make a deal. It does not always come down to money. We often exchange permission to film for exposure for the business.

Last night, for the record, was Wednesday. How a Restaurant Becomes a Set