Matthew Perry Fans Mourn Friends Star With Heartfelt NYC Restaurant Display

Central Perk is a staple on the show "Friends." If you've seen even one episode — and who's only seen just one? — you've watched some combination of Chandler, Joey, Phoebe, Monica, Ross, and Rachel lounging on the coffee shop's mismatched furniture laughing or sipping cups of tea or coffee. What you may not have realized is that although Central Perk isn't a real place, there is a real restaurant below the iconic apartment building that the "Friends" characters lived in. In the wake of actor Matthew Perry's death, fans of the show and his character Chandler are honoring him by flocking there in numbers.

Little Owl (aka Central Perk) is a restaurant serving Mediterranean fare in New York City's West Village. Since the news of Perry's death on Saturday, fans have been going to Little Owl and pay their respects and contribute to a heartfelt memorial by leaving flowers as well as notes and candles. Superfans of the show are still in a state of shock over the news, and the little restaurant and street corner have transformed into a solemn environment. According to Page Six, some of these mourners also stop into Little Owl to grab something to eat.

The restaurant's owners had no clue what they were getting into

Everyone loves the show "Friends" and must know how iconic that apartment building is, right? The truth is that Joey Campanaro, the current owner of Little Owl, had no clue when he opened his restaurant back in 2006. In an interview with Vulture, Camparano said that he didn't figure it out until he had to deal with hordes of tourists and fans of the show making pilgrimages to the building every day — and apparently, the owner before him had no idea either.

Camparano has had both positive and negative experiences with "Friends" superfans during his time as the owner of Little Owl. He claims that while most of the fans he interacts with are respectful, some have gotten mad at him upon realizing they weren't in fact inside Central Perk. Others have graffitied the exterior walls of the building with iconic phrases from the show that Campanaro ultimately had to have removed. But this also isn't the first time that Little Owl has been taken over by "Friends" fans. 2019 was the show's 25th anniversary, and die-hards took over the sidewalks outside of the restaurant, taking pictures and leaving tributes (and more graffiti). Perry's death brought fans back for a more somber reason, but it's clear the location is beloved and will continue to be for years to come — regardless of whether Central Perk is real or not.