Published on : May 27, 2015
Last week, the city of Changchun in China witnessed the inauguration of the country’s very own Forrest Gump Restaurant. China is renowned across the globe as the hotbed of the most innovative and quirky restaurants and eateries, and many of them recreate the world of the various television show and film. The country already has a “Friends” themed restaurant that hails its name “Central Perk” from the popular show, and not to forget the Joey Tribbiani restaurant, which is also themed on the same show. These restaurants are major crowd pullers, and now added to the list is the new Forest Gump Restaurant. However, this restaurant is way different from its movie inspired contemporaries. The restaurant doesn’t have a single picture of the movie or Tom Hanks for that matter on any of its walls. Instead the restaurant is inspired from the life and struggle of the 12 members in the serving department who have learning difficulties.
Despite its name, Forrest Gump restaurant is not a horrendous representation of the narrative depictured in the movie. In fact the restaurant is opened to serve great food to customers and at the same time offer opportunity to its mentally impaired staff to become economically independent. Hu Yangping, who has dedicated her life in helping mentally impaired to make their life better said, it’s not the movie but the “courage and optimism” of the character depicted in the Tom Hanks starrer 1994 movie that inspires the name of the restaurant.
Hu is associated with many similar programs and she has started the Forrest Gump Restaurant, with the help of the new employment scheme of the provincial government of Jilin. Hu has a 12 year old son and she lost her first child in 2001. In an interview with one of the leading dailies in China, Hu said that her life experiences have also played a part in inspiring her to open this restaurant.