Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Seinfeld Diner

We stopped by Tom's Restaurant for lunch on our way to The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, which is right down the street. Tom's Restaurant is located on the corner of 112th and Broadway in Morningside Heights. The diner's exterior was used in Seinfeld for the fictional Monk's Cafe where Jerry, Elaine, Kramer and George used to hang out.

Suzanne Vega also wrote a song about it called "Tom's Diner." Vega, in fact, wrote the song while sitting in the diner, which she used to frequent for coffee and cheap, greasy food. The "bells of the cathedral" that she refers to in the song are those of the nearby Cathedral of St. John the Divine (note: in our next post we'll explain why these "bells" are funny).

The interior of the restaurant is like any other diner in New York City, except with these caricatures of the Seinfeld cast on its walls. The diner was bustling with tourists, most likely Seinfeld fans, and nearby Columbia University students.

The food is the usual New York diner food and includes hot sandwiches, Italian specialities, halibut steak, stuffed clams, liver, greek salad, sardine sandwich, gravy fries, egg cream and milkshakes. The good thing is breakfast is served all day here and depending on what you order, the prices can be affordable. You can get a cheeseburger for $3.50, a plain bagel with cream cheese for $2, three slices of French Toast for $4.35, silver dollar pancakes for $5. This breakfast sandwich below was simple and tasty, with a huge chunk of sausage, a ton of eggs, and nicely melted cheese served on a thick, soft bread. It was a generous portion for $4.50 that left me full. The service was also pretty good.

There's another Tom's Restaurant, that's also a diner, but it's unrelated to this one and is located in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. That diner's been in business for over 70 years.