The Surprising Connection Between ‘Seinfeld’ And Song ‘Tom’s Diner’

Suzanne Vega, the singer-songwriter best known for her folk music, has received several music awards during her nearly 40-year career. In fact, a cover of one of her hits “Tom’s Diner”  is still topping the charts today. The thing is, you may not realize that the song is directly related to the hit ’90s TV show Seinfeld.

The Diner On The Corner

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past four decades, you probably instantly recognize the intro to “Tom’s Diner” when you hear Vega’s vocals. The enchanting melody leaves you with the song stuck in your head for the rest of the day. However, have you ever stopped to wonder if the song is based on a real place? If so, where is Tom’s Diner located? As it turns out, Seinfeld fans know the answer.

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Many Seinfeld fans know that Monk’s Diner, the diner where Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer spend countless hours, is based on Tom’s Restaurant in NYC. Thanks to the TV show, Tom’s has become a well-known tourist attraction. People from all over the world make the trip to Broadway and 112th Street on Manhattan’s Upper West Side for a photo op. 

However, what some Seinfeld fans may not know is that Tom’s Restaurant is also the diner Vega sings about in her hit song named after the restaurant. In “Tom’s Diner,” Vega shares what it’s like to observe the world around you while drinking coffee at Tom’s.

From the weather to the greetings inside the diner, Vega details the mundane experience of this everyday ritual. Since Tom’s Restaurant inspired a song about a common experience, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it was the inspiration for the friend group’s favorite haunt on a show about everyday life.

People Like To Say Salsa…And Cover ‘Tom’s Diner’

Vega originally wrote the song in 1982. However, most people didn’t hear “Tom’s Diner” until it was released as a single in 1987 after being featured on her second studio album, Solitude Standing. The hit song was recorded with only vocals from Vega and typically performed a cappella. Just check out Vega’s performance below from the 1980s.

Although written and released in the 1980s, “Tom’s Diner” is familiar to multiple generations. Thanks to the remix by the British group DNA in 1990, the song reached number one in several countries at the time.

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Since then, the song has been covered many times—one version was even on a chart-topper in 2022. The cover by German groups AnnenMayKantereit and Giant Rooks went viral on TikTok and topped the US Billboard Top 100 in the 78th position. Apparently, “Tom’s Diner” is standing the test of time, along with Tom’s Restaurant and Seinfeld.

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