In Long Beach, California, there is a pop-up hamburger joint that is getting a lot of media attention because it’s got pictures of Bored Apes throughout.
The restaurant, called “Bored & Hungry,” is operated by Andy Nguyen, who spent $267,000 (in crypto) on a Bored Ape NFT in March. He also holds two Mutant Ape NFTs, which cost him another $140,000 in ETH.
Nguyen has set out to prove that putting giant movie cutouts of slimy mutant apes inside a hamburger joint is proof that NFTs — tokens on a blockchain that point to JPEGs on a server somewhere — work in the real world.
If you are lost on the logic here, don’t worry, you are not alone.
Bored & Hungry is located at 2405 E. 7th Street, between Cherry and Obispo. It opened to the public on April 9, and it’s scheduled to stay open for 90 days.
Along with three cutouts of Bored Apes, a window facing a patio is painted with a gigantic Mutant Ape dripping with green slime — perfect to go with your meal. The floor is painted green, to resemble slime. Chips and burgers are served in colorful packaging with cartoon apes on them.
LA Times Food Editor Lucas Kwan Peterson describes it best:
“It feels more like a kiosk at Disneyland than a restaurant, and like some paint has been quickly slapped onto the previous Louisiana Famous Fried Chicken. A couple of movie theater-style cutouts of Mutant Apes have been trotted out onto the floor for photo opportunities.”
The “grand opening” was complete with a ribbon-cutting, loud music, lines down the block, and a dozen “content creators” racing about, conducting interviews, and filming everything possible. You can see some of the camera action here.
Bored & Hungry offers a simplistic In-N-Out-style menu. Yet, while a basic burger at In-N-Out costs $3.50, Bored & Hungry burgers start at $13.
The food, based on Nguyen’s existing meat and vegetarian burger concepts, doesn’t quite live up to the price tag, according to some Yelp reviewers.
“Burned burger. Burned a hole in my pocket,” Robin W. wrote.
Ernesto Z. described the French fries as the “frozen ones just deep-fried and topped off with salt and pepper.”
“I live near it and it’s awful,” Michael Narciso said in a tweet. The apes look terrible on the outside and burgers are triple the price of a better-tasting burger down the street.”
Proof that NFTs (don’t) work!
The popup is intended as proof that NFTs are “more than just a JPEG.” As such, NFTs work as you might expect, meaning they didn’t work at all.
If you own a Bored Ape, you got a free meal, but you had to present a paper ticket as proof. What about the NFT you spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on? Never mind that, you need a paper ticket.
Bored & Hungry accepts payment in Apecoin or Ethereum, but almost nobody pays with crypto because, what a hassle, and it’s easier to use a credit card, the LA Times said.
Cryptocurrency never functioned as money. Its value is based on speculation, people buying and selling. The same goes for NFTs. That’s it, that’s all they are good for.
Unless that is, you are shilling your own NFT project. In that case, owning a Bored Ape token is a signal to other investors that you’re a success. You’ll be surprised to learn that Nguyen also has his own NFT project that he’s working on. It’s called Food Fighters Universe — “an NFT collection that will connect food and Web3,” according to the press release.
Search for utility
When Yuga Labs launched Bored Ape Yacht Club in April 2021, the big deal was that holders had IP rights to their cartoon apes, meaning you could print your ape on T-shirts and hoodies and sell those on eBay. You can also put your Bored Ape on a beer can and a bag of weed.
Bored & Hungry is proof that you can print a Bored Ape on hamburger wrappings. You still need a paper ticket or credit card to pay for the food. Nobody is talking about business expenses — I mean, you could lose money selling burgers this way. Nguyen is already $400,000 in the hole.
Bored & Hungry isn’t about selling hamburgers — it’s about promoting the Bored Apes brand to convince you that NFTs aren’t complete garbage, which they are. Like everything else behind Yuga Lab’s Bored Ape Yacht Club, it’s a publicity stunt.
Since day one, Yuga Labs has been pitching the idea that Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs offer real-world utility. It’s a ticket to culture. It’s a ticket to a warehouse party in Brooklyn. You are part of a community. You can draw dick pictures on a virtual bathroom wall, one pixel at a time.
If you’re amazed at the amount of hype behind Bored Ape Yacht Club, remember, the project is backed by A16z and Madonna manager Guy Oseary, who Yuga hired to represent them. Insiders are waiting to cash out on their ApeCoin once their shares are unlocked.
I suspect we’ll be seeing lots of new ideas coming from Bored Ape Yacht Club promoters in the next year. Until investors can dump their bags on the public via Coinbase, events like this one are crucial to keeping Bored Apes in the public eye.
Nguyen told LA Times that he is considering keeping his popup open beyond 90 days. If that’s the case, I’m curious to find out how long the lines are in June. I suspect people will tire of green slime decor and $13 hamburgers pretty quick.
[Update: Bored & Hungry has officially announced on Instagram, “We are here to stay.”]
Update: June 24, 2022 – Bored & Hungry stops accepting $APE during the crypto crash. The LA Times writes: “Crypto skeptics have long warned that someone would get left holding the bag when the hype cycle played itself out. Better that bag should contain a burger and fries than nothing at all.” [LA Times]
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