Happiness is a Warm TV

For ‘Gilmore Girls’ fans, local coffee shops transform into Luke’s Diner

Local “Gilmore Girls” fans can stop in for coffee at Luke’s Diner today.

Sort of.

To celebrate the 16th anniversary of the debut of the canceled-since-2007 TV show, three Raleigh coffee shops are changing their names to Luke’s Diner for one day, and some are giving away free cups of the stuff that kept Rory and Lorelai fueled for seven glorious seasons.

On Wednesday morning, baristas at 42nd & Lawrence, a coffee shop in the new Skyhouse building in downtown Raleigh, wore flannel and backwards-facing caps with “Luke’s” printed on them. Customers peeked under the sleeves on their free cups of coffee, revealing a quote from Season 1, Episode 5: “You like coffee?” “Only with my oxygen.”

Some fans drove hours to pay homage to the show.

Catrina Tomsich, 39, picked up her friend Ariana Fromti, 34, and told her they were going on an adventure. Fromti was mystified as they drove from Wilmington to Raleigh, but finally guessed where the two were headed.

“It was such a great surprise,” Fromti said. “The show is my comfort food, except it’s comfort television. Catrina is my Sookie.”

Elaine Martyn, 40, rushed to 42nd & Lawrence to snag a free cup of joe. Martyn began watching “Gilmore Girls” in 2001 during her freshman year of college. Since then, she’s rewatched the series several times and owns all seven seasons on DVD.

“I’m an addict,” Martyn said.

The fact that the show’s rabid cult following has prompted Netflix to bring it back next month for a miniseries that will check in on the good folks of Stars Hollow is no coincidence. (The show debuted in 2000 on the WB and moved to the CW in 2006.)

What’s so amazing about “Gilmore Girls”? Well, either you get it, or you don’t. It’s about Lorelai (Lauren Graham), who became an unwed mom at 18, and her relationship with her brilliant daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel). It’s about their witty, pop culture-laden, rapid-fire banter. It’s where Melissa McCarthy got her start, playing bumbling (but gifted) chef Sookie. It’s about all the weirdos in the small town of Stars Hollow, where the show was set. It’s about Lorelai’s complicated relationship with her wealthy and often disapproving parents (RIP Edward Herrmann). And it’s about Luke’s Diner, where Rory and Lorelai took many of their meals and consumed much of their java, and where Lorelai and Luke (Scott Patterson) fell in love.

Mother-daughter duo Ally Albert, 37, and Anna Burggraff, 12, of Cary are already gearing up for the show’s return. Burggraff is on fall break, and the two have spent her time off binge-watching “Gilmore Girls” in preparation for its Nov. 25 return.

“It’s an honest mom and daughter relationship,” Burggraff said. “They’re not acting fake. They have conflicts and fights. We’re really close, but sometimes we get mad at each other.”

The entire series is streaming on Netflix, so if you aren’t one of the converted, get on over there now.

But for an immediate fix today, here’s where to go.

▪  Sola Coffee Cafe

7705 Lead Mine Road, Raleigh

▪  42 & Lawrence

134 E. Martin St., Raleigh

▪  Benelux Coffee

402 Oberlin Road #118, Raleigh

Brooke Cain: 919-829-4579, @brookecain

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