7 Restaurant Booths That Made Pop Culture History

Film fans can still recognize — and often visit — where characters gathered for meals at restaurants like Holsten's on 'The Sopranos,' Double R Diner on 'Twin Peaks,' and more.

<p>Joey Delvalle / NBCUniversal via Getty Images</p>

Joey Delvalle / NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Tipping a maître d' to get a better table is one thing — paying $82,000 to own the booth the Soprano family sat in during the series finale is quite another. But such is the powerful hold that some famous diners and coffee shops have on our collective psyche. From Monk's Cafe in Seinfeld to The Max on Saved By the Bell, here are the most unforgettable booths in pop culture history.

The Sopranos

For the iconic final scene of The Sopranos, Tony, Carmela, Meadow, and AJ gathered at a local diner — Holsten’s in Bloomfield, New Jersey. As Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” plays on the tabletop jukebox, Tony noshes on some onion rings — “the best in the state.” Was it his last supper? Nearly 17 years after the finale, series creator David Chase is maintaining his vow of omerta.


With the exception of Jerry's apartment, no Seinfeld set was as central to the '90s sitcom as Monk's Café. It was in their favorite booth that the gang dreamed up The Contest, or where Jerry and George were mistaken for being gay (not that there's anything wrong with that.) Yadda, yadda, yadda...25 years later, fans are still posing for photographs outside the real-life Monk's — Tom's Diner on New York's Upper West Side. (Which was also the inspiration for a Suzanne Vega song in the '80s — but that's another story.)


<p>MGM / IMDB</p>


Set in 1959 Baltimore, director Barry Levinson’s debut film chronicles a group of friends in their 20s — played by a pre-famous Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon, Paul Reiser, Steve Gutenberg, Daniel Stern, and Tim Daly — as they sit around and shmooze at the Fells Point Diner. Ironically, for a movie that glorified diner culture, the restaurant wasn’t real — it was shipped from New Jersey and returned after filming.    

Five Easy Pieces

When Jack Nicholson sat down at a diner in 1970’s Five Easy Pieces — shot in a Denny’s in Eugene, Oregon — all he wanted was a “plain omelette, no potatoes — tomatoes instead, a cup of coffee and wheat toast.” Unfortunately for him, the restaurant did not allow substitutions — no side orders of toast. And the officious waitress wasn’t having any of his counterculture sass. So after a back and forth, Nicholson amends his order to a plain omelette with a chicken salad sandwich on wheat toast and then he throws her a curve: “Now all you have to do is hold the chicken and bring me the toast…. and you haven’t broken any rules.” Annoyed, she responds, “You want me to hold the chicken, huh?” Then he delivers the coupe de grâce: “I want you to hold it between your knees.”

Twin Peaks

<p>ABC Photo Archives / Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images</p>

ABC Photo Archives / Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

When Kyle MacLachlan’s Special Agent Dale Cooper rolled into Twin Peaks, Washington, in 1990, to solve the murder of Laura Palmer, he wasn’t just served a coffee at the Double R Diner — actually Twede’s Cafe in North Bend, Washington — but a “damn fine cup of coffee.” Twede’s burned down in 2000 and reopened with a new interior that didn’t resemble David Lynch’s cult TV series. But for the 2017 limited series, Twin Peaks: The Return, Twede’s was renovated yet again, restoring it to peak Peak’s form.

How I Met Your Mother

<p>Cliff Lipson / CBS via Getty Images</p>

Cliff Lipson / CBS via Getty Images

If you ever wondered why Josh Radnor’s Tes Mosby took nine seasons to find the woman of his dreams, consider how many hours he spent in that booth at MacLaren’s Pub not looking. While MacLaren’s wasn’t real, the bar was based on McGee’s on West 55th Street in New York, where series creator Craig Thomas and Carter Bays used to drink when they were writers on the Late Show with David Letterman

Saved by the Bell

<p>Gary Null / NBCUniversal via Getty Images</p>

Gary Null / NBCUniversal via Getty Images

When Zack, Slater, Screech, and the Bayside High crew weren’t making life difficult for Mr. Belding, they were hanging out at The Max, a kitschy diner that was built on a soundstage. But in 2016, some 23 years after the original series ended, entrepreneurs Derek Berry, Zack Eastman, and Steve Harris brought The Max back to life — in all its ’90s neon glory — as a pop-up in Chicago. Two years later, they brought the Saved By The Max concept to West Hollywood. Both locations have since closed. But in 2020, a five-day multi-city pop-up celebrated The Max to the max.

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