When I finally got my pasta, I asked where to find my salad and was directed to the salad/juice bar. There was officially too much happening and too many hoops to jump through to get all my food. By now, I was starving so I decided to enjoy what parts of the meal I had and just eat the salad whenever it was ready. The pasta was fine. I truly believe it was "healthy" as advertised on the restaurant's website because it wasn't the most delicious thing I've ever put in my mouth. The crêpe, which I also gobbled up while waiting for my salad, was more like a pancake, but let's be honest, there are worst things in this world.
After finishing my second and third courses, I went to stand by the salad bar only to find that I was still fifth in line to get my order. I stood behind two good-natured Brooklyn dads who started talking to me about how unorganized the place was, but they didn't seem to be angry and their kids, who sat at their own table nearby, still seemed to be having a ball. When I finally reached the front of the gathering around the salad bar, I found myself face to face with the Sorting Hat, the one clear allusion to my favorite fantasy series. I smiled and started to think maybe the brand new restaurant was simply still working on getting all the kinks worked out.
As a Harry Potter purist, I'm tempted to feel shortchanged by this place that all the buzz led me to believe would have an HP theme. Did the owners liken the boy wizard's name to their restaurant simply to get publicity? They didn't serve butterbeer — or alcohol of any kind — and none of the workers were dressed as characters from the series, so it didn't quite make sense that everyone had been talking about this Harry Potter restaurant all week. Still, it's hard out there for new restaurants, so I understand the desire to stand out. With Harry's many devoted fans, selling yourself as a Harry Potter-anything is one sure-fire way to do that.
In the restaurant's defense, its website doesn't seem to explicitly state that it's Harry Potter-themed. Instead, it says, "While the interior of the Pasta Wiz flagship resembles a wizard’s enchanted lair, the real magic shines through in the prep time of their dishes: approximately 3 minutes." In a recent interview with Gothamist
, Pasta Wiz's owner, Alex Dimitrov, explained, "We decided Pasta Wiz, it's like a wizard magical place, so we've made it Harry Potter
-style. We decorated in a Harry Potter
-style." Perhaps the owner was just using Harry Potter, our generation's most iconic story of wizardry, as a means to communicate the aesthetic he was going for and the internet, as per usual, just sort of ran with it.
Really, what the restaurant achieved by associating itself — inadvertently or not — with the series was to make me absolutely determined to enjoy myself and hope desperately that it has some success and sticks around long enough to smooth out the bumps. After everything, having even a feeble escape into the Wizarding World just around the corner from my muggle dwelling is still a dream come true.