The Garfield Restaurant Is Dead, But Lives On As NFTs (Of Course)
Several centuries ago, in 2020, we told you about Toronto's GarfieldEATS, the Garfield-themed restaurant founded by Nathen Mazri, a self-described "social media influencer in entrepreneurship" who specializes in "enter-gaging" content and making up baffling buzzwords. Back then, GarfieldEATS gained some notoriety after being evicted by an "unempathetic," "heartless," "greedy," Monday-loving landlord, but Mazri persevered by turning the company into a digital-only lasagna delivery service. Sadly, GarfieldEATS has now run into an even more formidable adversary: the people who actually own Garfield.
Yes, ViacomCBS, which owns Nickelodeon, which operates Paws, Inc., which owns Garfield, has decided not to renew Mazri's license, leaving a Garfield-shaped hole in the fast-food industry. Mazri announced the news in a video where he's standing in front of a huge Garfield plush and a big Garfield painting and wearing a Garfield-orange suit and, apparently, orange make-up? That, or he's finally morphing into Garfield, in which case the timing of ViacomCBS' decision is even more tragic.
But a little thing like no longer being legally allowed to use the Garfield brand isn't stopping Mazri from trying to continue GarfieldEATS as ... a purveyor of AI-generated budget NFTs for use in the metaverse. Just ... an incredible collection of bad ideas right there. For mere dollars, Mazri's #fanvestors can "own" fever dream renditions of stuff like the GarfieldEATS apron ...
... the GarfieldEATS pizza box (which apparently contained psychedelic mushrooms) ...
... this screenshot from the deranged Garfield-themed remake of A Scanner Darkly ...
... or even a psychedelic rendition of the long-departed physical restaurant itself, which is being offered to 100 fans for $101 (in real money) each!
But, hold on, wasn't one of GarfieldEATS' big selling points that this was "clean" food produced with the good of the environment in mind? How does that gel with selling Earth-burning JPEGs? Mazri has reassured fans that "Proceeds returned back to 1% for the Planet, Clean Label, and regenerative farmers to offset the #CO2 emission used for my #NFT crypto-artwork pieces." We'd talk about whether carbon offsets for NFTs are a real solution or just a way to greenwash this grift and not think about the fact that you're contributing to the dumbest apocalypse possible (it's the latter), but this is probably a moot point. The GarfieldEATS memorial collection isn't exactly, uh, setting the world on fire: weeks later, only the $1 NFTs have sold, while the page for the $101 ones still says "100 of 100 left."
That's an appropriately sad coda for the GarfieldEATS saga. Although Mazri had Jim Davis' blessing from the beginning, it's hard to imagine Garfield's creator thinking, "Man, I hope one day someone sells pizzas vaguely shaped like my character over the computer and then pivots to hocking apocalyptic Beanie Babies." Without a doubt, Garfield's finest forays into the digital world have been the unlicensed ones, from the WTF memes to the elaborate video game mods (who's up for some Dr. Garfield on NES?) to the bootleg t-shirts with surprisingly fascinating backstories. Goodbye, GarfieldEATS. Your eternal Monday is here.
And Mr. Mazri: you stay the heck away from Heathcliff.
Top image: Paws, Inc.