|“||Welcome to Herring Houdini, home of pickled fish.||”|
The restaurant was created by Olaf and his associates as a trap for while he was accompanying the Squalors and the Baudelaires during their lunch outing, with the intent of serving Jerome drugged food to knock him out and then kidnap the Baudelaires under his nose. Esmé however refused to have them dine there, because it was "out", instead choosing to dine at the Café Salmonella, which at the time, is an "in" restaurant. Olaf then notifies newspaper journalist Eleanora Poe that Herring Houdini is "in" to get her to write an article about it and compel Esmé to want to dine there. It immediately succeeds, causing her and all the other restaurant patrons to get a table almost immediately after the article was published. However, the Baudelaires manage to slip away in the ruckus of all the patrons leaving the restaurant, thus thwarting Olaf's original plan. Jerome, however, is still doped up from the effects of a sleep-inducing beverage and passes out.
Count Olaf, disguised as Gunther, performs a song at the establishment called "Keep Chasing Your Schemes" at the behest of Jacquelyn Scieszka and Larry Your-Waiter to stall him and his troupe long enough for the Baudelaire children to eventually discover the ersatz elevator hidden inside 667 Dark Avenue.
- The word "herring" could be a reference to the Red Herring statue, or just the term red herring in general. The "Houdini" part probably implies Count Olaf's later escape at the In Auction, named after escape artist Harry Houdini. Therefore, it means "the escape of the red herring statue," which is what happens later.