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Saturday, May 28, 2022

'Gilmore Girls' pop-up diners prompt coffee-fueled excitement

My roommates will be the first to tell you I’m not a morning person. I walk, or rather stumble, into the kitchen, grab a bowl of cereal and hibernate back in my room until the last possible minute before class, all the while hoping I don’t have to remember how to carry basic small talk until after I finish my painfully average cup of homebrewed coffee.

Maybe it’s my addiction to coffee, hatred of mornings or unintelligibly fast-paced talking that led a friend of mine to tell me I remind her of Lorelai Gilmore, a lead character in the 2000 Warner Bros. ([RIP the WB channel)] show “Gilmore Girls.” All opinions on the comparison aside, I was excited to channel my supposed inner Lorelai by grabbing a cup of coffee at Luke’s Diner, the iconic restaurant Lorelai and her daughter Rory swing by seemingly every day for seemingly every meal, served by the short tempered owner Luke.

Gilmore girls and guys got a taste of Stars Hollow and free coffee Wednesday when Netflix sponsored hundreds of pop-up Luke’s Diner across the U.S. and Canada, with at least one shop per state. The entertainment and media streaming company picked up the tab for 12-ounce cups of coffee for the first 250 customers at each location, a top-notch sales promotion on the 16th anniversary of the show’s original premiere date.

MOKA coffee shop in Madison hosted two pop-up Luke’s Diners at their East Washington and University locations, drawing in fans of all ages to the event. My gremlin-like, night owl self rolled out of bed and onto a bus just after dawn Wednesday morning to catch a bus with a friend to Moka’s University location, breaking every rule of my effort-free mornings.

Dressed in plaid shirts and backwards baseball caps as a nod to Luke’s character, the baristas seemed just as excited about the pop-up diner as the fans, who formed a line extending outside and around the corner of the shop. The baristas slid to-go cups of “Luke’s coffee” down the counter like a broken record, not needing to take orders as more fans packed into the shop, busy instagramming the cups monogrammed with the Luke’s Diner logo and a quote about coffee from “Gilmore Girls.”

I want to personally shake the hands and buy a cake for each member of the marketing team that put together the Luke’s Diner promotion. With only 50 days until the Netflix revival of the show,featuring four 90-minute new episodes, thousands of fans took to social media (myself included, follow me @ellie_herman7) to boast about their fresh roasts, sharing photos with their cups, spurring #LukesDiner to trend on Twitter. Stars of the show re-tweeted fans and teamed up on the “Gilmore Girls” Instagram Stories page to share live “happy birthday, Gilmore Girls” messages from around the world.

I might need to throw in an apology here to anyone that dealt with me this morning before I got the much-needed coffee, but the painfully early morning was worth it. After spending years binge watching “Gilmore Girls” with my sisters, the Luke’s Diner pop-up shop gave me the chance to take a trip to Stars Hollow ... with a shorter commute.

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