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We're deadly serious about; Visit us before you condemn us, says restaurant.

Byline: ECHO REPORTER newsdesk@liverpoolecho.co.uk LIVECHONEWS @

A NEW restaurant today urged people to visit it before deciding whether its Death Row Diner branding was merely an attempt to shock and make money.

The Hope Street venue opened last week and has attracted criticism from some who believe the name to be in bad taste.

The restaurant, set up by serial bar entrepreneur Rob Gutmann, who also owns Motel and Yardbird, released a lengthy statement explaining its ethos.

Though it seemed unclear as to whether it was making an artistic, political, or business statement.

The statement read: "So, why did we call our diner 'deathrow diner'? Do we think death row is funny? Unimportant? Something to be taken lightly? No we don't. If that helps ..." The restaurant said the idea of the state "granting someone the basic mercy of a last meal before murdering them to be a bizarre and ludicrous contradiction".

"It's such a crazy incongruous ritual that it got us to thinking about a movie-like dream sequence.

"Something that one of our fave directors, like Lynch or Tarantino, might have conjured. A condemned man not merely granted his ultimate meal, but allowed to enjoy it in a special restaurant/diner. food is also about context." The interior design, which appears to feature pictures of convicts and a crucifix of Jesus, was a "consequence of that train of thought" to create "something filmic".

The brand was responding to criticism from, among others, Liverpool blogger Laura Brown, who wrote: "This Death Row Diner concept though, is both revolting - and drearily unoriginal at the same time.

"Why wouldn't you want to think of botched executions, of post-execution exoneration, or affronts to human dignity while you're chomping down on a burger and cocktail?" The restaurant said it wanted to create something "a bit surreal, a bit cartoon, a bit graphic novel".

It added: "To bolt on references that hinted at both the nihilistic mindset of the chaotic souls who often find themselves on Deathrow, but to also to consider their psyches as they prepared to meet their makers. Hence the poetry and quotes in neon. Hence Jesus on the wall.

"Did we consider this idea might make many feel uncomfortable? "Yeah, we definitely did.

Didn't think that was a problem though.

"Maybe we're just trying to shock. Maybe we're just ploughing that old shock sells furrow. Maybe we're just in it for the dough.

"How are you going to know? Come pay us a visit. See what you make of our efforts. Give a diner a break.

"You win. We win. Everyone wins. Except the chickens."

CAPTION(S):

The interior of | |Death Row Diner, on Hope Street, which has sparked controversy; and, inset, top right, Rob Gutmann

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 31, 2014
Words:456
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