Two years in a row, a man paid thousands of dollars to eat at Applebee’s on New Year’s Eve

In 2022, a man from Colorado made an extraordinary decision to fly to New York City solely to enjoy the holiday season at an Applebee’s near Times Square. Despite the hefty price tag of $2,500, he firmly believes that the experience was absolutely worthwhile. What’s more surprising is that he decided to repeat this unique adventure again this year.

In an interview with Business Insider, Evan Lund shared that he and his wife have celebrated previous New Year’s Eves in exciting destinations such as Las Vegas and a friend’s winery in Iowa. However, to him, there is simply no comparison to the experience of being in Times Square.

Lund, however, expresses his dislike for braving the cold and battling the massive crowds that flock to the renowned New York City location. He also mentions the inconvenience of having to wear adult diapers. As a result, he decided to seek a more comfortable experience in 2022.

According to Lund, he was looking for a place that would welcome individuals under the age of 21. This was because he and his wife were hosting a high-school exchange student from Uzbekistan, who had expressed her desire to be in New York for New Year’s. Eventually, he discovered an Applebee’s located just three blocks from Times Square.


Tickets for the New Year’s event at Applebee’s in 2022 were priced at $700 each. Lund, who purchased three tickets, ended up paying a little over $2,500 after factoring in service charges and taxes. It’s important to note that this was the most affordable option available. However, despite the cost, Lund believed it was a worthwhile investment.

Lund, speaking to Business Insider, shared his experience of getting high-top-counter seats in the bar area of Applebee’s on 50th Street, near Times Square. Despite being the most affordable option available, Lund believes that these seats offered the best view for people-watching during the ball drop on West 43rd Street.

Lund was pleasantly surprised by the exceptional food served at the event, noting that it surpassed his expectations. The offerings went beyond the usual fare found at places like Applebee’s, with a more upscale and gourmet selection. Guests were treated to a variety of delectable options, including hors d’oeuvres, a lavish buffet featuring salmon and steak, and an enticing array of desserts. For those of legal drinking age, there were also top-tier cocktails and Champagne available to enjoy.

According to Lund, the highlight of the experience is that, 20 minutes before midnight, all 400 Applebee’s guests are taken outside to a designated area where they can watch the ball drop. There is no need to wait in the cold for hours or struggle to find a good spot. Instead, they simply walk outside and head to the corner to enjoy a clear view of the ball. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Lund was so enamored with the experience that he made the decision to embark on another adventure in 2023. This time, he purchased three tickets online at a cost of $2,264. He was accompanied by a teenage exchange student from Poland. Lund expresses that despite the expenses, the experience was once again incredibly rewarding.

According to Lund, the celebration at Times Square Applebee’s in 2023 was absolutely amazing. In fact, Lund believes it was even better than previous years.

Lund adds that this year’s event not only included all the offerings from last year, like a live DJ and popular giveaways such as hats, tiaras, and noisemakers, but the servers also went above and beyond. They engaged with the guests on a whole new level, chatting and dancing throughout the night, which created an even more festive and lively party atmosphere.

Lund shares that the Applebee’s had dancing robots, which provided a delightful spectacle. Unlike previous experiences, the restaurant allowed guests to stand right in the middle of the intersection on 50th Street and Broadway, which had been closed off to traffic. Lund describes the experience as truly amazing.

Lund eagerly anticipates the arrival of next year’s celebration, as he counts down the days with excitement.

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