Since the 1940s, Minas Zoulis and his family have owned Tom’s Restaurant on the Upper West Side of New York City. The eatery has been the subject of numerous pop-culture homages, including Suzanne Vega’s 1987 song “Tom’s Diner,” but the corner spot was made famous thanks to Seinfeld.
The series used the real-life exterior of Tom’s to represent “Monk’s Café” in the series, but the interiors were shot on a soundstage. That’s why director Gian Franco Morini and his crew wanted to explore the real-deal diner and get to know the people inside. There, they met a slew of interesting characters — many people who have been coming there for decades.
Bob Rose worked with David Lynch on the soundtrack for Twin Peaks, played guitar for David Letterman’s band, and did work on Deep Throat. Retired professor Ramon Berenguer is a sage figure at the diner. Current owner Mike Zoulis, who has run the diner since the 1980s, also stars in the documentary to share more about the Seinfeld days and Tom’s connection to other pop-culture moments. The trailer for the doc serves as a mini doc in and of itself.
So grab a “big salad” and get to know this famous landmark.
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