The Couples Who Spent Valentine’s Day at Ikea. On Purpose.

It was 6 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, and the employees of the Ikea in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn had done what they could to make the Swedish furniture emporium feel more like a romantic hot spot and less like, well, an Ikea.

Slinky jazz played over the cafeteria speakers. Rose petals were scattered across two long tables, where ADELLOVTRAD flameless candles flickered unconvincingly atop HEDERVARD candlesticks. Each seat had a blush place mat and a clear view of a poster advertising frozen cinnamon buns.

Eighteen couples showed up for a Valentine’s Day event billed as “a romantic evening dining at Ikea Brooklyn’s Swedish restaurant.” On Wednesday, the most romantic day of the year, these lovers bypassed New York City’s numerous Michelin-starred options in favor of meatballs from a retailer best known for its flat-pack furniture.

Alex Wendland, 26, had arrived with his own pink tablecloth and a dozen roses for his date. “The lighting in here is not very romantic,” he said. “It’s harsh, it’s overhead.”

The table settings themselves provided an opportunity for organic product placement. (The flameless taper and the candlestick holder are both from Ikea.)Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
On a Wednesday in Red Hook, Evellyn Santos and Chris Mancini, a married couple visiting from Florida, found “love among the Swedish meatballs,” as Mr. Mancini put it.Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

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