While filming his show at the famed Apollo theater in Harlem, New York, this week, Conan O’Brien decided to stop by another one of the neighborhood’s legendary establishments: Syliva’s. But instead of just dining at this storied soul food restaurant, Conan hopped behind the counter and worked a shift.
In the clip, Conan gets a tour of Sylvia’s from Zaqura, the granddaughter of its founder, Sylvia Woods. After asking a bunch of questions about the celebrity photos on the wall — and specifically, why Liza Minnelli appears three times — Conan puts on a hairnet and apron and starts serving guests and chatting up the regulars. He even gets to sing a special birthday song to one lucky (or unlucky?) customer.
Conan O’Brien is the world’s biggest dork bumbling his way through one of the world’s most beloved soul food restaurants. It’s a funny bit, but in between the jokes and gags, Conan and his crew manage to capture why this restaurant is so special — it’s a community hub, and a living piece of Harlem’s history. When Conan asks Zaqura if everyone has eaten there, she replies: “Not everybody has, but most people.”
• Conan Works At Sylvia’s Restaurant [YouTube]