When it comes to getting in the Christmas spirit, no one does it quite like Rolf’s German Restaurant in New York City’s Gramercy Park.
The otherwise quiet restaurant and bar is a spectacle during the holidays. Thousands of sparkling ornaments, icicles, lights, and dolls dangle above customers as they sip spiked hot apple cider and mulled wine.
Business Insider spoke to restaurant manager Suhal Uddin to get the scoop behind Rolf’s tradition of over-the-top Christmas decorations. He estimated that there are about 15,000 ornaments and 100,000 lights hung up inside. It all costs the restaurant about $65,000 each year.
We had to check out the decorations for ourselves.
Over the following six weeks, six men work overnight, five nights a week, to complete the ornate decorating process.
Uddin said that the decorating tradition was carried over from the restaurant's previous owner. It gets more elaborate each year.
According to Uddin, Rolf's replaces every ornament that's broken or damaged. 'The decorations cost us between $60,000 and $65,000 every year,' he told Business Insider.
Special Christmas-themed cocktails, including spiced eggnog and mulled wine, are served throughout the season.
The restaurant becomes extremely busy starting the second and third weekends of December. Uddin told us that the line to get in sometimes wraps around the corner.
Tourists flock from all over the world to see Rolf's. 'We get a couple hundred international calls for reservations every year,' Uddin said. 'We can't accommodate everyone, but we try our best.'
Luckily, they keep their decorations up until April, so that anyone who couldn't make it for Christmas still has the chance to experience it in the spring.
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