With walls barren of musical memorabilia, no sound system whatsoever, and a mumbling bald man awaiting guests at every table, a new Dwight Yoakam theme restaurant in Bakersfield is proving every bit as unpredictable as its namesake.
Country California was on hand to get firsthand accounts from some of the very first diners at the Tuesday grand opening of Dwight’s Bakersfield Burger Pagoda, billed as “the full Dwight Yoakam culinary experience.”
Early reviews were mixed, with most customers expressing some combination of confusion and fatigue.
“The first thing that struck us as funny was that the restaurant wasn’t playing ‘Guitars, Cadillacs’ or any other Dwight music, and there wasn’t any decor to speak of,” said Lilly Dupre, of Oildale, who showed up at the grand opening for a fun date night with her country-loving husband. “Then, upon arriving at our table, our waitress introduced us to this super mellow, accountant-looking guy named Ted, who seemed to give his name as ‘beh.’ We were told that he’d be dining with us.”
“Trying to make conversation, we asked Ted if Dwight ever visits the restaurant personally. Couldn’t tell you what he said, exactly. Sounded like something about the Franco-Prussian War. Then he started feigning a British accent for no apparent reason, chuckling at himself as if it was all a big joke.”
Seemingly still shell-shocked by what had just transpired, she summarized: “Definitely one of the most disorienting dining experiences of my life.”
Another patron, Kathy Smith, stopped to comment on her way out the door.
“Our mistake,” said Smith, who claimed to have taken off of work and driven 200 miles from Modesto with her three children to attend the restaurant’s opening. “We just assumed that the theme would be more about his music, less about his opinions on trade tariffs and the history of Central American art. We listened to Dwight CDs all the way down, but we’ll probably do The Wiggles on the way back up.”
“Sorry, we have to go,” she ended abruptly, spying her family’s bald tablemate approaching with a binder full of vacation pictures. “Can you tell him it was very nice meeting him and to take care?”
“Jesus, kids, let’s get out of this place.”
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