Throughout Seinfeld‘s nine-season run, restaurants in and around New York City played an integral part of dozens of episodes. Some were actual establishments that you can still visit today, while others were fictional places written specifically for the show. Whether it was dine-in or take-out, Jerry and the gang simply could not get enough of NYC’s culinary offerings. Perhaps that’s because in a “show about nothing,” food becomes an easy conduit for banter.
When Jerry, George, Kramer, and Elaine weren’t musing on button placement, they were raving about Mackinaw peaches or deciding where to eat. Here’s a guide to some of the best restaurants made famous on Seinfeld:
Al’s Soup Kitchen – “The Soup Nazi”
Based on an actual soup kitchen near Times Square, the exaggerated version of the guy who ran the place (Larry Thomas) was wildly temperamental, especially about the ordering process. What happened if you didn’t order right? He’d yell “No soup for you!” (this line became a meme way before Nyan Cat) and give you the boot.
This episode inspired numerous Seinfeld catchphrases — the aforementioned “no soup,” “schmoopy,” and “jambalaya!” Years later, it also inspired the author of this article to try ordering mulligatawny. Never again. Tasted gross. No soup for me.
The Chinese Restaurant – “The Chinese Restaurant”
This episode is well-known for being set in real time, with all the action taking place as Jerry, George, and Elaine impatiently waited to be seated for a table at a Chinese restaurant. No eating ever actually took place — though Elaine nearly ate a stranger’s egg roll before chickening out. In the end, George gave up to tend to his flailing relationship with Tatiana, Jerry left to go to his uncle’s, and Elaine presumably stuffed her face at Sky Burger.
Too bad. They only needed to wait another five seconds.
Gray’s Papaya – “The Movie”
Kramer was hungry, but certainly not hungry enough to eat a movie-theater hot dog (not that time, at least). He had his heart set on a Papaya King hot dog, and he was willing to risk being separated from his friends at a crowded movie theater in order to get one. Despite his continued references to Papaya King, it was actually Gray’s Papaya where he ended up buying his hot dog.
Who can blame him? They’re 100 percent all beef, and tastier than filet mignon.
Gyro Stand – “The Cigar Store Indian”
How do you pronounce “gyro?” Some people say “guy-row,” and some people say “gee-row.” I believe the correct pronunciation is actually, “Euro,” but I’ve honestly never heard anyone actually say it like that. What I can say for sure, however, is that “jye-row” is way, way off. Either way, one thing we can all agree on is that being able to purchase one on a subway platform is just about the greatest thing in the world in terms of answering one’s cravings and, quite possibly, the worst thing in the world in terms of sanitary conditions.