Tom’s Restaurant, New York

It’s hard to imagine a restaurant with a more famous facade.  This humble diner on the corner of 112th Street and Broadway has people descending on it from all over the world.  ‘They land at JFK and take a cab right here’, the owner tells me.  And Arabella and I also had Tom’s Restaurant on our list of ‘must-see’ places while in New York.

Grinning from ear to ear

Grinning from ear to ear

The restaurant scenes for the very first episode of Seinfeld were filmed at Tom’s Restaurant.   The facade continued to appear in every subsequent episode and with the popularity of the show, the building has become iconic.  After shooting the first episode an identical replica of the interior of the diner was built in Hollywood.  Sadly, due to a number of renovations the interior today is no longer as it appears in Seinfeld, however, that doesn’t stop the tourists from arriving.

A booth where you pay and the cash register is an antique!

A booth where you pay and the cash register is an antique!

While sitting up at the bar (there’s a $7.00 charge to sit in a booth) we met a tourist from Toronto who told us he was there because of Seinfeld and then a back-packer arrived who sat at the bar and asked, ‘Is this the diner in Seinfeld?’  The staff are only too happy to answer questions and share their Seinfeld connection.

Sitting up at the bar

Sitting at the counter

Then a film crew arrived and shot a scene outside the building for a documentary.  The reporter was telling the camera the story of how this is the restaurant from Seinfeld and how the word ‘Tom’s’ doesn’t appear in the TV show as they wanted the restaurant to be ‘more generic’.

Film crew

Film crew

There’s plenty of Seinfeld memorabilia inside the restaurant.  There’s photos of Jerry taken at the diner, autographed photographs of the cast and you can purchase t-shirts and other souvenirs.  When I told Carl he asked if I bought him the T-shirt.  Whoops!  Might have to go back for another visit.

Seinfeld memorabilia

Seinfeld memorabilia

The menu at Tom’s Restaurant is large, covered in plastic and busy with lots of fonts and colours and descriptions and images.  It’s a mess to look at!  Once your eyes have settled down you’ll find all that is typical of American diner-fare.  There’s the burgers and fries, the omelettes, sandwiches, salads, onion rings and wraps.  You can have a range of soft drinks that come with one complimentary refill.  There’s the ‘famous’ milkshake and the apple pies and the cheesecake and brewed coffee.  All the portions are overly generous and the prices cheap.  You can have a cup of soup for $2.00 or if you’d prefer it in a bowl it costs $3.00.

The menu featuring the famous angle of the restaurant that appears in Seinfeld

The menu featuring the famous angle of the restaurant that appears in Seinfeld

The food arrives quickly.  We ordered the buffalo wings that arrived on a plate decorated with iceberg lettuce.  They were served piping hot with a spicy aioli-styled dipping sauce and we loved them.

Buffalo Wings $8.90

Buffalo Wings $8.90

We ordered a bacon and egg roll that came with very crispy bacon (bordering on dry) and an egg we felt was over-cooked.  (I do like a runny egg yolk even in a bread roll.)

The egg and bacon roll $3.65

The egg and bacon roll $3.65

We couldn’t leave without trying the ‘famous’ milkshake.  There are lots of flavours to choose from.  We asked for butter pecan but they’d unfortunately run out of that flavour.  I was keen to try the cherry vanilla flavour but Arabella gave that idea the thumbs-down so we settled on vanilla.  It was a wonderful milkshake that was loaded with ice cream so was more like a thick-shake.  It was so generous in size we shared it between us.

The 'famous' milkshake.  $6.00

The ‘famous’ milkshake. $6.00

The staff at Tom’s Restaurant are friendly and give good customer service.  As we were leaving and more and more tourists were arriving and having their photo taken in front of the famous facade.  I’m quite sure that when the owners opened the diner, they had no idea that in just a few years, their little restaurant would be known and visited by people from all over the globe.

The interior is no longer as it was in the series

The interior is no longer as it was in the series

Verdict:  For lovers of Seinfeld, Tom’s Restaurant is a must-see.

Tom's Restaurant

Tom’s Restaurant

Tom’s Restaurant:  Cnr 112th Street and Broadway, New York, New York.

Ph:  (212) 864 6137

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Comments

  1. Way cool!

  2. How fun!! 🙂 I didn’t grow up watching Seinfeld but I’ve been watching reruns recently so I know what you’re referencing. 🙂

  3. What fun to visit such an iconic location! Happy to see you hit the ground running in NYC. And there is soooo many great things to see and do. Have fun!

  4. Wow, such a fun thing to do and visit…my husband will love it as he still watches the rerun of the Seinfeld.
    Enjoy the rest of your week Charlie 😀

  5. I’m not a Seinfield fan but I know there are MANY of them so I’m sure the restaurant will be there for quite a while. Have a great time visiting the Big Apple.

  6. What fun! It’s such an iconic place. I remember asking my sister (who lives in New York) that we should go there and she looked at me and said, “Seriously, Maureen?” I would have gone in a heartbeat.

  7. What a shame they changed the inside. I reckon it would make sense to reinstate it. And what about he $7 to sit in a booth. Not Good.
    Carolyn

  8. what were they thinking in changing the decor! it is not quite consistent with selling memorabilia – or did they just try and get away from seinfeld and then yield to it – I don’t think I had got into seinfeld when I visited new york and never saw the place but it seems like a good honest American diner which really means you can see a celebrity diner and experience some American food too which is win win. Nice to see you both happy in NY

  9. Very cool! I’m actually really enjoying the Seinfeld reruns of late. I went through a phase of being kind of bored of it. Now, I have a new appreciation of the show. I Love Julia! Okay, so this post is not about Seinfeld but it’s about the famous restaurant. Sounds like a fun trip. I would like to try that milk shake!

  10. In all the times I’ve been to NYC, I’ve never been to this place! I guess we’ll check it out next time. Did you see anyone have Elaine’s Biggy Salad?

  11. I would go just for a delicious milk shake. I am so glad that you and your daughter are having a chance to spend some time together and travel around a new destination together. Girl bonding!

  12. Butter pecan would have been the bomb! You seem to have enjoyed vanilla, so I guess that would be my second choice, too 🙂

    Julie
    Gourmet Getaways

  13. I definitely know why this milkshake is famous, it looks so utterly delicious! keep having a blast in NYC 😀

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  14. I’ve never watched Seinfeld. I know. I know. But not much of a TV or movie person.

    What an interesting place to visit with that lunch counter and the old cash register and all the attention it gets. But $7 to sit in a booth. Seriously?

  15. What fun! So glad you two are having fun in NYC.

  16. It’s nice to you and Arabella so happy, I guess the homesickness is long gone now Mums here 🙂
    It’s good to see that the menu prices haven’t been jacked up because of all the tourist trade Charlie- but why is it extra to sit in a booth? I loved the Soup Nazi episode the most, has anyone opened a place like that since the show? Xox

  17. So much fun in one week Charlie you wont be able to come home!

  18. I’d love to visit there one day. Seinfeld is one of my favourite shows even still after so many repeats and viewings! 😀

  19. Now that’s fun! I understand there are Seinfeld tours that offer a glimpse of other spots supposedly linked to Seinfeld episodes. I am a Seinfeld fan, so this would have been very enjoyable. You’re obviously having a good time! How could you not?

  20. How cool! I would love to visit Tom’s Diner. It has been 15 years since I was last in NYC – I must get back soon.

  21. What fun! We watch the Seinfeld reruns all the time, so would get a kick out of visiting Tom’s Restaurant. I guess the food can be ok and they’ll still get plenty of customers because of the show!

  22. How exciting to visit a place like that! I’d love to do that. My life has been pretty docile for the most part this far, as far as visiting cool places and meeting cool people…. I really need to get out more! 😉

  23. Glad you arrived safely and are having fun!

  24. What a fantastic place to visit! The staff must get inundated with Seinfeld questions … glad they’re so obliging. Love the look of the milkshake although it’s so big I’m not sure I could get through it!

  25. How fun! I hope you’re enjoying your stay in NYC!

  26. FYI, Charlie,LAWSUITS. Not only do Americans mainly prefer their bacon well-done, Restaurants in the U.S. make it so to protect themselves lest a customer contracts trichinosis and comes back to blame it on them. Also,it is illegal in most places to sell ‘runny’ eggs; salmonella has infected most of the U.S. egg supply. It is unsafe to eat raw (commercial) eggs here.

  27. I went to Tom’s on my very first visit to NYC as well!

  28. OMGGGGGGOSH,
    I dig Seinfeld VERY much!
    The food looks great & I love the adorable photos of YOU))). SO COOL. xx

  29. When I go to NYC, Tom’s is a “must see” spot. No matter what’s ordered, the table talk is filled with favorite lines and plots from episodes of Seinfeld. I’m glad you both are having some fun together, Charlie. I look forward to reading some more.

  30. So happy to see and read your post about NYC trip! Sounds like you two are having an amazing time there. I love visiting places from movies and TVs. I’ve done that in Los Angeles but didn’t get a chance to do it in NYC when I visited. I’ve been enjoying your Instagram feed! Keep posting!

  31. I’ve been to NYC a gazillion times, but never have been to Tom’s! Wow – those are cheap prices and that shake is hooooge!
    Hope you have a blast during the rest of your trip, Charlie.

  32. Looks like you two are having a blast!!! You’re also doing what I would be doing in NY – eat! Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip!

  33. i am so jealous, im still in the planning stage of my trip!

  34. Charlie, Im totally jealous of your US adventures. Best way to see a city… Eat it! 🙂 Keep the NYC posts coming. xox

  35. So fun that you got to travel to NYC! If I hadn’t been working from home last week, I could have run into you! 🙂 Hope you had a great time, Charlie!!

  36. What a great New York experience! However, diners aren’t really known for the quality of their food and I’m shocked that they charge for a booth so I hope you manage to try some of the other restaurants while you’re here. Try to check out Williamsburg or Fort Greene in Brooklyn where there are lots of cool places to eat and shop.

  37. What fun! Happy to see you are enjoying New York! 🙂

  38. How fun! I became a serious Seinfeld fan when I met my hubby 20 years ago. Did they have the Tuna Salad Sandwich on Rye, or the “Big Salad?” Love this post! Enjoy your trip, Hugs, Terra

  39. I am a NYer and have never been there!

  40. Ooh I just got Will with that bit of trivia. On our Seinfeld tour they told us it doesn’t look the same as the show inside but he didn’t say it used to look like that!

  41. Fun post! And what a fun place to visit. Never went to Tom’s when I lived in NY — too busy working! We hope to visit NYC sometime later this year, so I should check it out. Glad you’re having a great time.

  42. This is so NYC…..looks like you are having tons of fun.

Trackbacks

  1. […]  We found the people of New York were overly-keen to be of assistance.  When we wanted to go to Tom’s Restaurant we asked someone how we would get there from W4 Station.  The man said, ‘You want to take […]

  2. […] lunch Joanne had to go back to work and I was on my way to meet Arabella at Tom’s Restaurant, the diner made famous for being featured on Seinfeld.  I thought I’d have to catch a cab […]

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