Fischer, Washington Sidewalk
The mostly beloved
sitcom is fading into the sunset, but the Washington area is full of
Seinfeld-related places – from local schools where a cast
member and a co-creator got their smarts to a friendly neighborhood
coffee shop to bakeries that never run out of babka.
Louis-Dreyfus was born in New York, and her father is the chairman
of the Louis Dreyfus Group investment firm. After her parents
divorced, she and her mother moved to the Washington area, where
Julia attended the Holton-Arms School (left), an exclusive
all-girls high school in Bethesda. The character Elaine Benes,
coincidentally, is a blue blood from the Baltimore suburb of Towson
– which explains why she wore an Orioles cap in the Yankee Stadium
owner's box. Her father, the two-fisted novelist Alton Benes,
appears in one show (#8, Feb. 6, 1991) to rail at his daughter for
hanging out with such a bunch of wimps.
Larry David. The Seinfeld co-creator and George
Costanza role model who left the show after seven seasons (but
returned for the finale), David grew up in Brooklyn and attended the
University of Maryland at College Park, where he got a degree
in history and began making people laugh on purpose.
Coffee shop. Monk's Cafe-style coffee shops – with booth,
table and counter service and mediocre but inexpensive American fare
– are scarce around here, but Jimmy T's Place (left) in
Capitol Hill neatly fills the bill. The food's not great, but it's
the kind of place where, to recall another defunct sitcom, everybody
knows your name.
Soup nicely. The famed Soup Nazi (#110, Nov. 2, 1995) spawned
a torrent of high-end soup kitchens in New York but ladled out only Natural
Jack's Mineral River Soup Co. in the Washington area. Unlike at
the show's Soup Nazi, service at Jack's is unnaturally patient and
courteous; the only taints of sadism are prices ranging from $3.25
to $8.25 a bowl.
Kenny Rogers Roasters. When the Gambler opens a franchise
across the street from Jerry Seinfeld's apartment (#134, Nov. 14,
1996), the gang becomes instantly addicted. Local Kenny's addicts
aren't so lucky, since there's only one left around here – in
Waldorf (St. Charles Restaurant Park, U.S. 301, 301-843-2895).
Babka. The gang of four is devastated to discover that its
favorite bakery is out of babka (a rich cake of eastern European
origin), which they had planned to bring to a dinner party (#74,
Feb. 3, 1994). Scoring babka in the Washington area, however, is a
piece of cake. Try Uptown Bakers (3313 Connecticut Ave. N.W.,
202-362-6262), New Yorker Bakery (8313 Grubb Rd., Silver
Spring, 301-585-8585), Breads Unlimited (6914 Arlington Rd.,
Bethesda, 301-656-2340) and Fresh Fields Whole Foods Markets (various
locations). Don't forget a loaf of marbled rye (#115, Jan. 4,
Pottery Barn. Kramer earned an audience with the U.S.
postmaster general (played by Wilfred Brimley of Quaker Oats
commercial fame) after he refused to accept his mail as a protest
against a deluge of catalogs from Pottery Barn (#153, Oct. 30,
1997). You can visit Pottery Barns at Chevy Chase Pavilion, Tysons
Galleria, White Flint and Reston Town Center, but be
careful not to reveal your address.
Brentano's bookstore. The New York Brentano's where Jerry
caught Uncle Leo shoplifting and George was forced to buy a book he
had taken into the store's restroom as reading material (#165, April
4, 1998) has closed. However, the chain still operates stores in Pentagon
City, Fair Oaks Mall, Tysons Corner Center, Landmark
Mall and Reston Town Center.
Seinfeld stars on video (a selective list): Jason
Alexander (George) plays a gay guy (not that there's anything wrong
with that) in Love! Valour! Compassion! and a character named
Michael Makeshift in the largely overlooked For Better or Worse.
Alexander also plays the title character's dad in Rob Reiner's North,
opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who also has roles in Father's Day,
Jack the Bear, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
and Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters. (She also has a
part in Allen's Deconstructing Harry, not yet on video.)
Before Seinfeld – and long before star turns in Diane
Keaton's Unstrung Heroes and as a fake lawyer in Trial and
Error – Michael Richards (Kramer) had potentially
career-ending parts in Young Doctors in Love, Transylvania
6-5000 and UHF.