LISA AND DEBBIE GANZ DON’T LOOK EXACTLY ALIKE—for one thing, Lisa is a half inch taller—but they’re close enough to have played a lot of the tricks that identical twins play. “We’ve switched driver’s licenses,” says Lisa. “We’ve each been kicked out of class for something the other did. We’ve switched dates.” Now the 27-year-olds have come up with another way to exploit their twinness: a new New York City restaurant—named Twins, naturally—where 29 sets of twin waiters and waitresses leave customers seeing double.
The Ganz twins, daughters of two CPAs in Pomona, N.Y., have been managing bars and restaurants for the last seven years but had never worked together before. “Being twins,” said Lisa, “we’ve been a freak show all our lives. We thought, ‘Why not do what we are?’ ”
Having chosen the site—a former Burmese restaurant—and lined up backers including actor (and nontwin) Tom Berenger, the Ganzes put out a casting call. To their amazement, unemployed twin waiters and waitresses turned out to be a dime (or two dimes) a dozen. “It took us only two weeks to find enough twins to work here,” says Lisa. “We’ve had twins quit their full-time day jobs to work here. It’s not about money—it’s about the twin thing.”
Being twins didn’t help Lisa and Debbie at all when it came to sorting out who’s who among the help—even Sal and Anthony, the bartenders they met on a Dating Game-type TV pilot. So now the staff all wear name tags that say something like “I’m Darlene, not Charlene” while serving from a menu that includes double cheese fondue, Twin Peaks nachos, twin burgers—and, for TV-twins fans, a Paté Duke platter.
Restaurant consultant Clark Wolf hails the Ganzes’ creativity. “It certainly gets your attention,” he says. “It’s like shooting off a flare—or two.” There are drawbacks, though, to being a twin working at Twins. “If one is sick, we have to cancel the other twin,” says Lisa. “They also have to take responsibility for each other’s problems, because often the customers have no idea which sibling served them.” Among all those twins, there are just two nontwins. One is the chef, Matthew Nicolosi. The other is Carlo Bruno, the general manager. How does he combat pervasive twinness? “I have a very good selection of single-malt Scotches,” he says.