I was recently watching an episode of the great Netflix Punisher television series when I noticed a very familiar location being utilized in a certain scene. The Punisher’s central character Frank Castle played by the phenomenal actor Jon Bernthal was sitting in a very familiar looking diner booth. Once the camera angle depicted the view of Queens Boulevard from the diner booth’ widow, it became very clear that the Punisher character Frank Castle was sitting in Pete’s Diner in Sunnyside Queens. This was no movie set, this was a real Queens Diner. A diner that I have eaten in many times before.
We are so accustomed to watching television shows and big budget Hollywood movies being created on multi-million dollar soundstages. However when a film crew comes to your own neighborhood and utilizes a neighborhood street or store in thier film, they pretty much immortalize that particular location forever. What they also do is create a new tourist destination for fans of that particular film or television show. The place no longer just belongs to the neighborhood, it belongs to the world of popular culture.
I know Sunnyside Queens very well. My uncle lived there for over 50 years. I have played many of the clubs in the neighborhood as a musician. I have eaten at every restaurant in Sunnyside multiple times for the last fifty years. It is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in New York City and an incredible place to live. We will be covering Sunnyside in full in upcoming articles. Pete’s Diner has been in the same location since the 1960’s It was not always called Pete’s Diner. The current owners took over in 2007 and named it Pete’s Diner and Grill. However, that diner has been there a very long time.
After noticing that Marvel’s The Punisher had utilized Pete’s Diner in their television series, I decided to take my son who is a huge Marvel fan to Pete’s Diner to sit in the same seat as The Punisher. We arrived at the diner and were disappointed to find that a few kids were already sitting in the Punisher’s booth. It was late on a Sunday evening and the diner was empty except for the people sitting in the booth we had went there to sit in. We decided to sit in the third booth from the entrance. A waiter came over very quickly to take our order. I asked the waiter if he had been at the diner when they were filming The Punisher. He responded that he was there the day they were filming. He told my son and I that we were sitting in the same booth as the actor who had filmed the show. We were puzzled by that statement because we had seen in the episode that the Punisher sat in the last booth against the back wall. We figured the waiter was just trying to make us feel good.
I discovered many weeks later that another television show entitled Persons of Interest had also filmed an episode in Pete’s Diner. In that episode the main characters Kara Stanton, Mark Snow, and Reese sat in the booth we were sitting in. The waiter had just gotten his television shows mixed up.
Pete’s Diner is in a neighborhood not far from Kaufman Astoria Studios. Its about a two minute drive to Kaufman Astoria Studios. The studio has been around since the 1920’s. It is the most widely used movie studio in New York City. So many popular films and television shows have been filmed at Kaufman Astoria Studios. The Sunnyside neighborhood in Queens has served as a perfect on-location setting for many projects being filmed at Kaufman Astoria Studios. The elevated subway line that runs downs Queens Blvd in Sunnyside’s has been used in Marvel’s SpiderMan movies quite often. Taking a visit to Pete’s Diner in Queens will serve as a gateway to the New York City Marvel Universe. You can sit in the same booth as Netflix’s Marvel’s The Punisher and stare through the windows at the L train that Spiderman has leaped from multiple times. Come on, that is cool.
When I watched the episode of The Punisher, I noticed that Frank Castle (The Punisher) appeared to be using authentic diner coffee mugs and plates. The first item I ordered at Pete’s diner was a cup of coffee. When the waiter brought over my coffee mug I became ecstatic because it was the same exact style mug that The Punisher was drinking in the episode. Talk about about authentic filming. Netflix used Pete’s diners original coffee mugs and silverware in filming the episode. What does that mean? Well, it means that one can actually have breakfast lunch or dinner at Pete’s Diner while actually using the same silverware used in a Marvel television show. Thats is triple cool!
If you are visiting New York City and are a fan of the work of Marvel comics, we highly recommend taking a visit to Pete’s Diner in Sunnyside Queens. However, even if your not a big fan of movies or comics, we still recommend a trip to Pete’s Diner because in the end, its a great New York City Diner. If your looking to discover how real New Yorkers eat, Pete’s Diner is the answer. Their omelettes are incredible and their french toast with strawberries is to die for. The food is a notch above most diner food and the staff is very professional and friendly.
Pete’s Diner is in a great neighborhood that is easily accessible by subway, bus or car. While Pete’s Diner may have a very small parking lot, there is parking available along Queens Boulevard and under the L train. Just make sure to fill the meter so you don’t get a ticket. Pete’s Diner and Grill is open 24 hours. If you have any questions about the place or need any advice on visiting Queens, just send me an email.
Pete’s Diner and Grill Photo Gallery