It seems that I was destined to be a “Seinfeld” fan from the moment I was born. One of the clearest memories I have of my father from an early age is simply of him in front of a TV, engrossed in this show about nothing. The show’s opening, and legendary, bass line became a part of my daily soundtrack, and the words “soup Nazi,” “jerk store” and “Festivus” carved an early place into my still developing vocabulary.
So as I walked into Little Jerry’s, a local restaurant dedicated to and in celebration of Jerry Seinfeld’s piece of sitcom history, it was like a homecoming of sorts. Lined wall-to-wall in the restaurant’s rather tight space was every piece of “Seinfeld” memorabilia imaginable. Photos of the cast are signed and hung; even the iconic Kramer portrait hangs above the restaurant’s customers, embracing the appearance of the loathsome offensive brute that he is. Just above the refrigerator, stacked atop one another, sit props and allusions to some of the show’s greatest jokes and lines, some that only truly dedicated fans will be able to understand (“War and Peace,” anyone?).
Keeping with the “Seinfeld” theme, the names of every single item on the menu are derived from the show. Examples include the brilliant Assman (a burger with chili poured over its patty), The Big Stein (a Philly cheesesteak) and The Mimbo (a burger stuck between two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches). Regardless if you are a fan of “Seinfield” or not, the wide range of exotic burgers available on the menu are the main draw of Little Jerry’s. Then there is the French toast, hotcakes, breakfast skillets, eggs Benedict, salads, sandwiches, soups, burgers, fries and much more, including a wide variety of side items. It is clear that the “Seinfeld” aspect of Little Jerry’s is only the draw, while the punch is the simply extraordinary food at moderate prices that this restaurant offers.
As of last month, on March 18, Little Jerry’s celebrated its first year in business. Founded by co-owners and husband and wife duo Anthony and Tara Valadez, along with their sole fulltime cook Tyrone Raspberry, and their hostess and server Francesca Mendozza, Little Jerry’s has been open to the public for breakfast, lunch and early dinners. In addition to the wide variety of food available, Little Jerry’s takes its fan-dom one step further in embracing some of the “Seinfeld” show’s wilder gags into full-blown events. Just this last December, the staff and several devoted customers celebrated their first ever Festivus, even going as far as having “The Airing of Grievances” just outside in the parking lot.
“As the restaurant goes on, I hope to have more events,” said Anthony Valadez. “I was thinking of a Keith Hernandez mustache day, you know, where anyone who comes in with that mustache gets a discount, or maybe an Elaine Dance Off day.” Valadez also briefly mentioned the ideas that the restaurant has for its near future: “We’re looking to getting a food truck,” he said with a smile on his face. “I'm not too sure on what we’ll call it; probably The Jerk Store.”
Little Jerry’s is located in Fern Hill District, at 8233 S. Park Ave. Open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, and on Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Learn more at http://www.littlejerrys.com, on Facebook or call (253) 948-4482..
Sean Contris is a student at Wilson High School.