Remenber this song?
Malin and I was taking a walk around Prospect Heights. And as always when we pass the corner of Washington and Sterling we start singing “Tom’s Diner”, since that is where Tom’s Diner is. From outside it looks closed and dark, but we were hungry and decided to go in to try their brunch, thinking that there must be some good reason to why a song would be named after this diner.
Inside it felt a little like going back into time and being inside a christmas tree in Iowa. The restaurant is filled with stuffed animals,christmas carols, lights, plastic flowers, american flags, pictures, signs, and music from the 40s. Tom’s diner have existed since 1936 and become a neighborhood pride.
By the cash register I met Stella Vlahavas. She moved to Prospect Heights from Greece and have been running the restaurant with her husband Tom for decades. She has seen the changes in the neighborhood from being a jewish, italian and irish neighborhood, to when riots erupted 1968 on Washington Avenue after Martin Luther Kings death.
Today her nephew is running the diner, but she is still by the cash register making sure no one leaves the restaurant without a lollipop. The home fries were good, but most important, everyone at Tom’s were inviting and warm.(Above) Stella Vlahavas. When I got home, I did some research and found out that Tom’s restaurant is NOT the inspiration of Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner” but was made for a restaurant with the same name on 112th and Brodway (The same restaurant that appears in Seinfield). But to me that song will always be connected to Stella Vlahavas.