Article by: Corey Fox
There are two types of people in this world: those who complain about gas prices and those who complain about gas fees. With gas prices soaring to price-gouging heights and Ethereum gas fees rising on the blockchain, Yuga Labs, the company behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club and Mutant Ape Yacht Club, look to dominate the JPG profile picture craze. Maybe you’ve heard the name, or maybe you haven’t. But you’ve certainly seen those endearing RBF expressions on their adorable, yet highly unamused, faces. These popular and peculiar primates are popping up left and right in every conceivable crevice of pop culture. I mean, would you just look at the audacity of this guy?
From clothing merch and the Ethereum Name Service handles overtaking your twitter feed, to all of the crypto discord spaces in between, Bored Apes and Mutant Apes are easily the talk of the town. In a short amount of time, Yuga Lab JPGs have become the most sought after, and by far the most extortionate, of all the digitally minted collections out there in the marketplace. And these blockchain baboons are not your grand-daddy's JPGs either. These animations are called NFTs, also known as blah blah blah, I’ll spare you the non-fungible token patronizations. Click here for the whitepaper on all-things-NFT if you’re interested.
WIth a current floor price of 105 ETH (over $325,000) at the time of writing, Bored Apes have become an extravagant status symbol you’d only expect to see for sale at a Sotheby’s auction house, or perhaps hanging up next to a Banksy at Christie’s. But instead of walking around aimlessly through the vast exhibitions of a modern art museum, these days you can casually peruse high-end digital art from the comfort of your own home on NFT marketplaces like OpenSea.
In fact, a multitude of main-stage EDM artists have joined the fray and taken the plunge by investing into BAYCs & MAYCs respectively. Artists like Wuki and Jauz have become proud holders, along with the cake-throwing aficionado Steve Aoki – who’s also a holder of several apes himself. Dillon Francis’ most recent residency contract is contingent on paying him partially in JPGs. I mean, even the creators and founders of the Bored Ape Yacht Club are EDM artists themselves, currently signed to WME and going by the mysterious name ESCAPEPLAN.
Now, unless you’ve been living under a rock during this pandemic, you may (or may not) have been involved in any number of arguments online debating the use-cases and functionality of NFTs; or at the very least, debated the sheer absurdity of it all. Among the mud slinging and the thumb biting, there is one person in the community who is scoffing at frivolous debates and taking the ape by the horns, so to speak: He goes by the name Andy Nguyen. He’s a marketing genius and entrepreneur extraordinaire, always searching for emerging markets in food and technology, a master marksman of finding ways to capitalize on them both.
As a holder of Bored Ape #6184 and a handful of Mutant Apes, Nguyen set out to open the world’s first NFT restaurant, and by using his commercial use rights and the intellectual property associated with his NFTs, he was able to take his Bored Ape out of the cold wallet and onto the hot streets of Long Beach – by opening a fully fledged fast food pop-up shop with his very own Bored Ape as the mascot: Bored & Hungry. So being the Curious George that I am, I decided to ape-in and swing by to attend the festivities for Bored & Hungry’s grand opening this past April 10. Let’s dig in, shall we?
I arrived at 10:30am before the ribbon cutting at noon, and as expected, a line had formed around the side of the building. I begrudgingly joined my SHIB Army comrades at the back of the line and settled in for the long haul. I’d been following the construction of Bored & Hungry for days on Andy’s Instagram, and I can confirm that after waiting in line for almost 4 hours, I did become bored and hungry. I had multiple YouTubers ask me to do interviews to which I politely declined, because one of them was using a banana as a microphone and the other one didn’t laugh when I called ApeCoin a rug pull.
Once I was finally let inside and off the sizzling heatwave-cooked pavement beneath my feet, I was able to order from the menu. They had a Bored Ape combo with a beef cheeseburger and a Mutant Ape combo for vegetarians, which should appeal to the dualities of mankind; I decided on the beef cheeseburger. Unfortunately at first glance, I was not particularly impressed by the food, although it could have been the inflated price that influenced my critiques. Clocking in at roughly $16.00 + tax for a medium fry, medium drink and a self-described double patty smash burger combo, I was already clouded with an overwhelming amount of fear, uncertainty and doubt regarding this elusive meal that I had painstakingly waited so long to eat. After a total of four hours, the food was in my hand and the FUD was momentarily dispersed.
The French Fries had what I’d describe as a lemon pepper flavor (for some ungodly reason) and the smash burger was pretty tasty, but sadly room temperature (like my IQ for waiting in line for so long), and ultimately I was forced to confirm: It was nothing to write home about. This is a perfect example of what I assume all food will taste like once we’re plugged into the augmented reality-based metaverse. I will say however – the fountain soda that I ordered, which came in a fancy Bored Ape collector’s cup, was honestly the best I’ve ever had; although it may have been the dehydration, which at the hallucinatory stage, seems to make all liquids taste exponentially better. Most importantly, the aesthetics on the inside were positively bananas. It felt like walking into a heat exhaustion-flavored fever dream, as if I was walking into the Krusty Krab and ordering a Krabby Patty (minus the turmeric, secret sauce and the barnacle shavings of course).
All in all, the experience was 10 out of 10 – I would totally eat there again. The service was top notch and the photo opportunities were well worth the wait. On my next visit, I’ll be ordering off the vegetarian menu to get the full experience. We have to remember that it’s not so much the food that matters, but the excitement. As we break new ground and reach new frontiers in the blockchain space and its intellectual property, we create new verticals with NFTs and cryptocurrency that integrate with direct-to-consumer retail opportunities. Also, bonus points to the gentleman in the striped shirt who provided me with a bottle of Poland Springs around the three-hour mark, as I broiled on the sidewalks of the concrete jungle, all while fending off a second wave of impending heat stroke. Your single act of kindness will not be forgotten sir for a minimum of three weeks to be exact, as I have been ceremoniously blessed by the sun gods with a massive red burn across my neck and face. I will be constantly reminded of this man’s generosity every time I look in the mirror for the near future.