- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
The Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood reopens this weekend after an extended hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Friends star Maggie Wheeler has a hunch that staffers may need to keep a close watch on the clock inside the revamped Central Perk Café and Friends boutique.
“When I had my walkthrough earlier, I said, ‘I don’t know how you’re going to get people to leave,’ because if I were on the tour and I got to come and spend some time [here], sit down with friends and eat, I just don’t think people are going to want to leave,” she said during a relaunch event for media and influencers on Thursday while standing in a corner of the boutique modeled to look like Monica’s kitchen from the iconic comedy series. “It feels like the show. It feels like [walking down] memory lane. I think people are going to be really, really excited to walk through and spend time here.”
Located in Stage 48: Script to Screen, Central Perk Café and the boutique are only accessible with the purchase of a Studio Tour ticket. Guests will find an upgraded menu, new items in the store (some of which are only available on site) and new places to kick back and take in the scene that features recreated sets inspired by the show including Central Perk, Joey and Chandler’s apartment, and Monica’s apartment. Also on view: Costumes worn by the cast and other props from the show that celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2019.
As for the food, Central Perk boasts an expanded New York deli-inspired menu including corned beef melts, pizza wedges, hot dogs, fries, salads, hot and cold sandwiches, a special blend of Central Perk coffee with new Friends character-inspired beverages. Sweet treats include a recreation of Rachel’s Thanksgiving trifle (sans meat), New York-style cheesecake, Central Perk cupcakes, and other bakery items.
The boutique features an exclusive collection of kitchen and dining ware, Monica’s famous door frame, Friends reunion-inspired spirit jerseys and coffee mugs, and a wide range of gifts, souvenirs and collectibles. Central Perk coffee beans are also on sale and are exclusive to the location.
Wheeler was the lone Friends cast member who attended the tour relaunch press day and she did so on the heels of appearing on HBO Max’s Friends reunion opposite Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry (and a cadre of guest stars and celebrity fans). She said that she was “really aware” that the show had that special something from the moment she stepped on set to play Chandler’s on-again-off-again love interest Janice.
“Of course, everybody knows that the camaraderie between the cast members was so palpable, so real, that it was bound to translate,” explained Wheeler, who also predicted that if Janice were out in the world today, her life would include a successful line of animal print handbags and possibly a podcast for lovelorn listeners. “It felt very, very special from the first time I showed up to work. I knew that it was going to be something special. Nobody could have predicted the rocket to the moon, but it was definitely there.”
As for how it impacted the rest of her life, Wheeler said, “To be part of something that means so much to so many people, that’s brought people so much comfort and joy over these years — all generations and new generations each year with new streaming platforms — it’s really an incredible blessing.”
Advanced bookings of the tour are required with options in English and Spanish and with costs ranging from $57 (for SoCal residents on weekdays through Sept. 30) to $69. More information can be found here and additional images from inside the revamped Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood can be seen below.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day