A one-of-a-kind experience at Twins: Eat, eat: Identical siblings offer their customers two for the price of one.

November 19, 1995|By Ann LoLordo | Ann LoLordo,SUN STAFF

Seeing double is part of the dining experience at Twins.

Your waitress stands table-side as you decide between the lobster-tail special (two for the price of one) or a Twin Engine Pizza. A woman who looks just like her is." Karen and Kelly Moulton, aspiring actresses from Holland, Pa., are among 37 sets of twins on the payroll of this trendy bistro on Manhattan's East Side owned by, yup, twins.

"We specialize in single malt scotches," says Lisa Ganz, 28, who opened the restaurant with her sister Debbie. "That's the only single thing in here."

That's the kind of humor the Ganz girls promote at their restaurant. It's all part of the shtick. But, Lisa Ganz insists, "This is a restaurant first, a concept second."

"In the late 1980s, early '90s, when theme restaurants started to infiltrate the market, we decided to separate ourselves by concentrating on the quality of food first," says Ms. Ganz, the younger sister by six minutes. "We hired a four-star chef. He's one of a kind."

The chef, Gregory Baumel, "tells everybody he's a multiple personality," says Lisa, who says she has worked in the restaurant business for eight years. "That's good enough for us. And even though he's not a twin, he cooks twice as good."

L There she goes again. Double your pleasure, double your fun.

The restaurant reflects the Ganz twins' sense of humor and whimsy.

On this particular Twosday, the special was the lobster tails. The menu offers gemelli (Italian for twins) pasta (chicken, arugula, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms and goat cheese), the pate duke platter, double cheese fondue and twin peaks hand rolls.

The staff wear T-shirts that say, "You can only make a first impression once -- we make it twice." The restaurant printed postcards that feature a staff photograph of nine sets of twins, linked arm in arm, under the words -- "In a city full of strangers, so many familiar faces." A sculpture in the dining room twists in the shape of a DNA spiral helix.

The Ganz twins and their partner, actor Tom Berenger, opened the restaurant a year ago. The restaurant has won them fans -- Lisa says the restaurant draws 10-15 sets of twins a night as customers -- and a scrapbook of publicity. The partners plan to open a twin restaurant in Los Angeles next year.

"We're looking for triplets," says Lisa. "If I fire one, I still have a pair."

On any given night, seven to 10 sets of twins work the bar, hostess station or dining room. Siblings must work the same shift -- Karen took the order, Kelly brought the check. If one twin is sick, the other tries to find a replacement set.

"Having a twin is like being born into a fraternity you didn't ask to be in," said Lisa Ganz. "It's a roomful of soul mates."

Hostesses Shawn and Toni Williams, 21, of New York, were the second set of twins hired for the restaurant. Their co-workers say they are among the most difficult to tell apart.

"My sister and I are best friends," said Shawn, the younger of the two by one minute.

Karen and Kelly Moulton, 23, live together. They are both actresses, though Karen prefers musical theater and Kelly, film.

"We have some relatives who still can't tell us apart," said Kelly.

Twins Restaurant is located at 1712 Second Ave., New York; (212) 987-1111.

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