Skip To Content
The Schmooze

‘Golden Girls’-Inspired Cafe Will Open Its Doors in New York This September

A promise to a good friend is now coming together as a cafe inspired by Rue McClanahan from the “The Golden Girls.”

Michael J. LaRue, who was one of McClanahan’s closest friends and was producing a musical adaptation of her memoir when she became ill, is collaborating with her son Mark Bisch to open the Rue La Rue Café at the Sofia Storage Building in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood.

Before she passed away in 2010, McClanahan, who played the feisty and flirty Blanche Devereaux, asked LaRue to ensure that her son never need to worry about money and that her fans have access to the show’s memorabilia. After creating a site where people from all over the world purchase McClanahan’s items from the show and launching the Official Rue McClanahan Memorial Page, LaRue decided that the best way to continue McClanahan’s memory would be to open a cafe that was all about her.

Image by Courtesy of Michael J. LaRue

“We decided we will create a place where fans can come, they can see the memorabilia themselves, hold her Emmy award in their hands, touch these costumes and just sort of geek out about ‘Golden Girls’ together,” LaRue said in an interview with the Forward.

A cafe in honor of Rue McClanahan is opening in Washington Heights. Image by Courtesy Michael J. LaRue

The cafe will be arranged as a loop that guides visitors through different periods of McClanahan’s life — her childhood, early movies and, eventually, her role as Derveaux on “Golden Girls” and her time on Broadway. Notable decorations will include the costumes McClanahan wore in the show, her Emmy statuette and the letters that she received from co-star Betty White.

LaRue also plans to air clips from “Golden Girls” and serve food that the show’s characters used to prepare, such as Rose’s Geneukenfleuken cake, as well as dishes from McClanahan’s personal recipe book, like the pasta salad recipe given to her by Bea Arthur and White’s recipe for angel food cake.

Having lost his mother at a young age, LaRue was extremely close to McClanahan during her life. They always thought it was funny that his last name and her first name matched so perfectly.

“Rue asked me to marry her three times because she wanted to be Rue LaRue,” he said.

After receiving permission from Disney to air clips from the show, LaRue learned that the fastest-growing demographic of “Golden Girls” viewers are people under 25.

“They told me that 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, somewhere on the globe, ‘The Golden Girls’ is playing,” he said. “It never is off the air.”

LaRue anticipates opening the cafe by the beginning of September. As he lives only eight blocks from the cafe, he plans to be there chatting with visitors every day of the week.

“Instead of everyone having to get on the A and run downtown for fun, I want them to call their friends downtown and say ‘You know what, come up here this weekend. I have the coolest place to show you,’” LaRue .

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.