Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  I may have left Tiffany’s on an empty stomach I do know of many other places where I can get my fill.  Naturally when I travel I make a point to dine at restaurants that are receiving buzz.  If I’m in St. Louis, I have several diners from which to choose.  There’s Goody Goody, Uncle Bill’s and the City Diner. There’s only one Good Goody and if I go to Uncle Bills or the City Diner, I have to go to the original location.  If I’m in Chicago I must have my morning meals at Wishbone.  I have to go to the location just a block away from Harpo Studios. So it’s only natural that I had to locate the spot where Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer frequented.

Breakfast anyone?

Nostalgia appeared and I ended up watching the first two seasons of Seinfeld.  The pilot, aka the Seinfeld Chronicles, aka Good News, Bad News originally aired on July 5, 1989 spotlighted Pete’s Luncheonette, so I just knew I had to go there.

Unfortunately, I never found it. Well, I’d actually have to go to the set where The Muppets Take Manhattan was filmed because Pete’s doesn’t really exist.  I could have a tasty Egg McMuffin though.  The exterior of Pete’s, 208 Varick Street in New York City, is now a McDonald’s Express.  The film was shot on location in New York City in the summer of 1983 and released the following year. The movie introduced the world to the Muppet Babies whose cartoon version later went on to entertain children on Saturday mornings. It would have been fun to get to know Pete, the owner and to have Miss Piggy as my server.

Before we had Elaine, there was Claire. Earmarked as a regular cast member in the pilot’s credits, Lee Garlington was a waitress at Pete’s.  When the show officially premiered a year later, out went Lee Garlington’s Claire and in came Julia Louis-Dreyfus who beat out notables Patricia Heaton, Rosie O’Donnell and Megan Mullally for the part of Elaine Benes.

Pete’s Out; Mickey D’s In

Not to be discouraged, I launched a search for the restaurant that became a Seinfeld staple:  Monk’s.  I just had to find the fun little diner where the gang spent countless hours talking about nothing.  I was really looking for Monk’s! Reality set in and I reached my true destination, Tom’s Restaurant.  The show itself assisted in the fact finding mission as many shots give away the restaurant’s location.

The Real Deal

When I think back to my experience at Tom’s I can recall having the pancakes, sausage and eggs but I can’t recall how the food tasted.  The fact I can’t recall feeling ill or dissatisfied and the fact that pictures reveal in front of me a host of empty plates, I’m lead to believe I enjoyed my meal.

I think I’ve found my new tradition!

About:

  • Located in Morningside Heights, Southwest side of Harlem, (it’s still Manhattan folks) in New York City; 2880 Broadway on the corner of 112th Street
  • Changed hands before it became Tom’s as a Jewish immigrant sold the restaurant to Greek immigrant Thanasi (Thomas) who then later sold interest to immigrants from the island of Kassos and Sifnos
  • Owned by Greek-American family of Minas Zoulis for over 70 years.
  • The current owner/manager, Mike Zoulis followed in his father’s footsteps who was a partner with Tom’s original founder
  • Open 24 hours serving breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Just down the street from Columbia University; became official Columbia student once you’ve enjoyed a milkshake and gravy fries in the wee hours of the morning
  • President Obama dined there when he attended Columbia
  • Building owned by Columbia University and houses some its programs and NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies
  • Bring cash; credit cards not accepted
  • Susan Vega wrote a song about it, Tom’s Diner in 1987 (I still love that song!!!); videos below
  • One similarity between Pete’s and Tom’s to note is they were both founded by Greek immigrants.

Check out the YouTube videos below.

Susan Vega         DNA

Other character changes

  • Frank Cosanza:  Out John Randolph; In Jerry Stiller; Jerry Stiller later reshot Randolph’s scenes to provide consistency
  • Newman:  Out Larry David(voice only);  In Wayne Knight; Knight later recorded David’s voiceovers
  • Morty Seinfeld:  Out Philip Bruns; In Barney Martin

Then

Now

Other Seinfeld Mentionables

  • Jerry, Elaine and George had siblings that viewers never saw
  • Dan O’Keefe, Editor of Reader’s Digest created Festivus in 1966; created to celebrate the first date he had with his wife; his son Daniel was a writer for Seinfeld show, reinvented the holiday thus bringing it to primetime television
  • The series began and ended with a discussion about a button on George’s shirt

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About ksimonewilson

I'm looking forward to sharing my New York experiences that have been highlighted on television and in movies.

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