If you were a fan of the 90s sitcom Seinfeld you will instantly recognize the exterior of Tom’s Restaurant in Manhattan. When the glowing red Restaurant sign flashed on the screen—with the word “Tom’s” missing—Seinfeld viewers knew that Jerry, Kramer, Elaine, and George were discussing their latest antics over a hot cup of coffee. The interior of the actual Tom’s Restaurant looks quite different from the Seinfeld version, but the exterior is a perfect match.
In the real world, Tom’s Restaurant has been serving Greek salads, deluxe double cheeseburgers, and omelettes since the 1940s. Tom’s was founded by an enterprising Greek immigrant with a 6th grade education. Tom’s Restaurant remains family-owned to this day.
Tom’s Restaurant is located near Columbia University. Former Columbia students including future president Barack Obama and songstress Suzanne Vega were once avid regulars. Susanne Vega even wrote a legendary song about people watching at Tom’s entitled “Tom’s Diner.”
Seinfeld wasn’t Tom’s only brush with show biz. An episode of the hit 70s sci-fi show _The Bionic Woman _was also filmed at the restaurant. Unfortunately Jerry Seinfeld, Suzanne Vega, nor the Bionic Woman have been spotted at Tom’s Restaurant for many years. Thankfully, Tom’s still showcases plenty of Seinfeld memorabilia, including a painting of Jerry’s wacky pal Kramer.
Native New Yorkers will gladly tell you that Tom’s vintage charm is what truly makes the restaurant an exceptional hangout. Tom’s Restaurant is the ideal spot to sip coffee at 3 a.m. on a Saturday. You may run into a NASA scientist taking a break from a late night project, an esteemed Columbia professor debating a pressing philosophical question, or a group of rag-tag friends discussing the mysteries of the universe. Your experience at Tom’s Restaurant may very well inspire you to write a chart-topping song, or a stand-up comedy routine.
New York, New York