Restaurants, cafes, bakeries, bars, and the like are often a vital part of a story’s plot. Maybe it’s where a group of friends have coffee and spend time together or where two characters plan a murder. We all wish places like Central Perk from Friends existed or that we could visit The Three Broomsticks in Harry Potter for a Butterbeer. Unfortunately, while shows and movies use a myriad of filming locations all over the globe, not all of these are accessible — or even real — for fans to visit.
There’s good news for fans of all things big screen and small screen, however. There are a number of well-known shows and movies that use real-life locations you can see for yourself. From a bistro in Paris to a fast-food joint in New Mexico, here are 13 places from TV and film that you can actually eat at.
1. Shalom Grill from The Avengers
After a long and rough day at work, people just want to eat a good meal and relax. No one knows that better than the Avengers who, after saving New York City from Loki’s madness and the Chitauri army, ended up at a shawarma joint to let loose and dig into some meat. The location used for that post-credits scene in The Avengers is real, and fans in Los Angeles can visit and stuff their faces, too. Previously named Elat Burger, it’s now called the Shalom Grill after being purchased by the Shalom Grill Corporation. Its menu is entirely kosher and consists of sandwiches, burgers, and salads, as well as schnitzel, falafel, and shawarma.
Where: 9340 Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035
2. Katz’s Delicatessen from When Harry Met Sally
Katz’s Deli is a New York City institution. Open since 1888, this deli is known and loved for its sandwiches stuffed with meats like corned beef and pastrami. When rumors began circulating that Katz’s might close because of developers eyeing the Lower East Side space to build condos, people were outraged. Katz’s managed to cut a deal by selling off its nearby properties, allowing the meaty goodness to stay. In addition to its kosher food, Katz’s is famous for being the location for a scene in When Harry Met Sally, a 1989 romantic comedy that poses the age-old question of whether or not men and women can just be friends. There’s a sign above the table where Harry and Sally sat that reads “Where Harry Met Sally… Hope You Have What She Had!” You can have what Sally’s having, but maybe avoid faking an orgasm in the deli.
Where: 205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002
3. Bistrot La Renaissance from Inglourious Basterds
Bistros are a quintessential part of the Parisian dining experience, and you’d be remiss not to visit one on your next trip to the French capital. Quentin Tarantino might have had that in mind when choosing Bistrot La Renaissance as the location for two significant scenes in Inglourious Basterds, a war comedy that tells the story of two separate plots to kill Nazi Germany leadership. The decor is as Parisian as it gets, with seating both inside and out, stained-glass windows, and tons of natural light.
Where: 112 Rue Championnet, 75018 Paris, France
4. The Thirsty Scholar from The Social Network
The Social Network is a 2010 biographical drama that depicts the story of Facebook’s founding and the ensuing drama between the founders. The script has so many quotable lines and scenes — who could forget Andrew Garfield’s Eduardo Saverin storming into the Facebook offices and yelling that he’ll be coming back for more than 30 percent — but one of the most memorable is the movie’s opening, where Mark is dumped by his girlfriend Erica, which essentially kicks the whole Facebook ordeal into gear. It all takes place inside a busy bar that actually exists in real life and can be found in Massachusetts, which is where The Social Network takes place. Known as The Thirsty Scholar, visitors can grab a beer and try something off of its extensive menu. Opt for its famous Scholar Nachos made with melted cheddar jack cheese, fresh tomato salsa, jalapeños, olives, and sour cream, or get something even heartier like bangers and mash.
Where: 70 Beacon St, Somerville, MA 02143
5. New York Grill at the Park Hyatt Tokyo from Lost in Translation
If you’re a Bill Murray fan who needs an excuse to visit Japan, then this is it. Critically acclaimed Lost in Translation is set in Tokyo and is about a movie star named Bob Harris and a newlywed, Charlotte, who both are conflicted about the lives they’ve been leading thus far. They end up staying at the same hotel, and the first time they have a real interaction with each other is at the hotel’s bar, which has a gorgeous view of the surrounding metropolitan area. That bar is the New York Grill at the Park Hyatt Tokyo. Located on the 52nd floor, the restaurant is breathtaking both inside and out with floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Making a reservation in advance is recommended if you want to sit at a table rather than at the bar, and there’s slight dress code — no dress shorts, beach sandals, or male sportswear. And of course, you need to order Suntory whisky, even if the specific bottle of 17-year-old Hibiki that launched a global obsession with Japanese whisky has been discontinued.
Where: Japan, 〒163-1052 Tokyo, Shinjuku, Nishishinjuku
6. Bridges Restaurant and Bar from Mrs. Doubtfire
Mrs. Doubtfire is about a voice actor named Daniel Hillard (played by Robin Williams) who tries to get back into his family’s life after his wife files for divorce. He does so by using his voice acting skills and dressing up as a nanny. Later on in the movie, Hillard has to attend two events held at the same restaurant — one important for his career as himself, and one important for his family as Mrs. Doubtfire. In the hilarity that ensues, Hillard attends both and changes clothes in the bathroom multiple times. It ends with Hillard getting tipsy, performing the Heimlich maneuver, and revealing Mrs. Doubtfire’s true identity to his ex-wife. This was all filmed at Bridges Restaurant and Bar in Danville, California, where chef Kevin Gin merges Californian food with that of Europe and Asia.
Where: 44 Church St, Danville, CA 94526
7. Twede’s Cafe from Twin Peaks
Crime dramas seem to be all the rage these days, but before there were Netflix documentaries about serial killers launching every week, there was Twin Peaks. While it was cancelled in 1991 after three seasons, the show’s cult following remained and an 18-episode continuation of the series, with much of the original cast and crew, aired in 2017. Perhaps the most quoted line of the series is from the pilot when FBI agent Dale Cooper says, “You know, this is, excuse me, a damn fine cup of coffee,” after he tries the coffee a waitress has just poured him. This line and shorter versions of it can be found on mugs, buttons, pins, posters, and the like. The scene took place in the Double R Diner, which is actually Twede’s Cafe in Washington state. We recommend having a slice or two of the cherry pie and a cup of coffee — it’ll be damn fine.
Where: 137 W North Bend Way, North Bend, WA 98045
8. Tom’s Restaurant from Seinfeld
Seinfeld aired for 10 years and is one of the most beloved sitcoms in television history. It takes place in New York City, and one of the locations that Jerry and his friends frequent the most is Monk’s Cafe. All of the filming for the show was done in studio in Los Angeles, but Tom’s Restaurant on the Upper West Side was used for Monk’s exterior shots. Despite the lack of filming inside, fans still flock to Tom’s in droves. It’s been run by the same family since it opened, and it still serves classic diner food. As an extra special treat for fans, the restaurant’s walls are lined with Seinfeld-related photos and memorabilia. And just like George did for Elaine, you can order a “big salad.”
Where: 2880 Broadway, New York, NY 10025
9. Holsten’s from The Sopranos
No matter what generation you’re from, everyone knows about The Sopranos — even if you haven’t seen it. The finale is one of the most talked about finales of all time, and rightfully so. After Tony Soprano has his win over the mob boss in New York, he goes to a diner and sits in a booth with his wife and son. While they wait for their daughter to arrive, a number of peculiar and contrasting moments occur. As “Don’t Stop Believin’” plays, the camera pans to different characters within the diner, and after showing the daughter’s so-so parallel parking ability, she begins to walk into the diner. Tony looks up and the screen instantly cuts to black and is dead silent for at least 10 seconds afterwards. This concluding scene has sparked discussions that have lasted years, and you can participate in the decade-old conversation while sitting in the diner where it all happened: Holsten’s in New Jersey. Order onion rings and a Coke to truly relieve The Sopranos moment, but also be sure to try some of Holsten’s famous homemade ice cream, too.
Where: 1063 Broad St, Bloomfield, NJ 07003
10. For N 20 from Parks and Recreation
Leslie Knope loves a lot of things, but three of them rank higher than most: Ben Wyatt, her job, and JJ’s Diner. JJ’s Diner is set in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana, and the exterior and interior shots were filmed in two separate locations. We’ll talk about the location used for the interior here, For N 20, because there’s nothing like walking inside and seeing where the characters sat. You can’t get the waffles with whipped cream that Leslie loves so much, or Ron’s Four Horse-Meals of the Egg-Pork-alypse, but you can get other breakfast foods, something off of its lunch and dinner menu, or some delicious pie.
Where: 5530 Van Nuys Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91401
11. Magnolia Bakery from Sex and the City
Following four friends in NYC, Sex and the City had a little bit of everything — romance, drama, and comedy. In season three, two of the four, Carrie and Miranda, go for a cupcake break to discuss their loves lives. It was this short scene that took Magnolia Bakery from a local shop on Bleecker Street to an international chain. Magnolia’s decor was designed in a 1950s-style and has a long menu that includes a variety of cupcake flavors (starting at $3.95 a pop), cakes ($5 for a slice), cookies, and other desserts.
Where: West 11th Street, 401 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014
12. Mystic Grill from The Vampire Diaries
The Mystic Grill is to The Vampire Diaries what the Central Perk coffee shop is to the characters in Friends. Most, if not all, characters in the CW drama have several scenes within the bar/restaurant’s walls. When TVD started in 2009, the Mystic Grill’s exterior shots were filmed on location in Covington, Georgia, and the interior scenes were filmed in a studio in Atlanta. In 2013, a real Mystic Grill opened up in Covington that looks exactly like its namesake, and the show began to film both the inside and outside shots there when possible. Owned by locals, the restaurant serves up American cuisine and sources its ingredients from local farmers. The only difference between the two is that the real one has a rooftop overlooking the historic square that’s perfect for a sunny day. Visit on a weekend and you might even catch some live music to accompany your meal.
Where: 1116 Clark St SW, Covington, GA 30014
13. Twisters from Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad is an award-winning AMC drama about a high school chemistry teacher, Walter White, who gets diagnosed with cancer and turns to making meth as a means of leaving money behind for his family. Several important scenes occur in a fast-food restaurant chain called Los Pollos Hermanos, which is owned by one of the show’s antagonists, Gustavo Fring. While Los Pollos Hermanos isn’t a real chain, the location used for it is. The spot is really called Twisters, a fast-food chain specializing in New Mexico’s typical fare. There are now over 20 different Twisters locations, but the one used for the show is instantly recognizable and has the same facade shown in Breaking Bad. A framed photo of Los Pollos Hermanos hangs on the wall inside.
Where: 4257 Isleta Boulevard SW, Albuquerque, NM 87105
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