New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol.77: Tom Brady’s Falafel City

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“Grab yourself a pita, Fill it fulla meata…” – 
the restaurant’s jingle sung to the tune of The Beach Boy’s “Barbara Ann”
And you thought Tom Brady’s dream was to win another Super Bowl? Ha! It’s actually to open up “a restaurant selling high quality middle eastern cuisine at discount prices.” Who knew the New England Patriots quarterback was as savvy with a falafel ball as he is with a football?

The Giants obviously have no love for the Patriots so Tom Brady was just asking for it when he hosted Saturday Night Live in the middle of New York City in 2005. Rather than letting himself get booed off the studio 8-H stage, he actually showed his fairly humorous side, especially in the sketch where he advertises his very own middle eastern restaurant in South Plainfield, New Jersey, Tom Brady’s Falafel City. This guy is more than just a football launching robot, he actually has a little bit of a personality. And he has a thing for middle eastern food.

Tom explains his rationale in his decision to open Falafel City:

“I’ll be honest with you folks, I was sick and tired of people asking me, ‘Hey Tom, where can I get a good falafel sandwich in the South Plainfield, New Jersey area?’ So sick and tired that I converted an old veterinarian’s office into north/central New Jersey’s finest low cost, high volume middle eastern eatery.”

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“Tom Brady’s Falafel City is without a doubt one of the top five NFL quarterback owned and operated Middle Eastern restaurants in all of the South Plainfield area…”

Setting up shop in a random suburb of central Jersey was a lot funnier than if they chose somewhere in Massachusetts. South Plainfield gets more national attention in this sketch than it ever has since it was incorporated in 1926. It gets mentioned around 5 or 6 times which was funny in itself – funnier than Horatio Sanz botching his lines as he played Dennis DeYoung from the band Styx. Usually it’s immediately piss-your-pants-funny when someone botches a line on SNL and laughs about it, but this time it didn’t work as well. Fortunately, Brady, Seth Meyers, Amy Poehler, Kenan Thompson, and Maya Rudolph rescued it. The writing in this sketch was so absurd that it was impossible for it to fail.

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Falafel City isn’t too far away from the other sports related restaurant in New Jersey that I wrote about previously here – Derek Jeter’s Taco Hole. Also promoted at the end of the sketch is Donald Trump’s House of Wings and Reverend Al Sharpton’s Casa De Sushi in Secaucus, NJ, which is now serving Thai Food!

I wish Falafel City actually existed because I’ve been craving falafel for the past couple of months. You’ll think I’m some kind of alien who fell out of the sky early this morning when you read that I finally tried falafel for the first time within the last year or two. Some people thought I was completely nuts for this, but it wasn’t intentional. I am open to trying new things, especially fried legume balls, but I just never got around to it. Now I’m a fan. I just put Falafel City into my GPS to see if by a miracle it would come up. Annnnd yes! I should be there in under 15 minutes. See you guys, I’m getting some falafel.

The NFL season kicks off on September 5th. You can watch the full sketch via Hulu below.

[hulu id=sgigyyvb1okh7rzfengh7w width=512]

Spirits Are Bright in South Plainfield, NJ

South Plainfield
…you taught me everything I know about exterior illumination.” 
– Clark Griswold, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
South Plainfield
I wonder if the folks over on Ritter Ave in South Plainfield, NJ had some Clark Griswold type inspiration or if they have just accumulated so many lawn decorations over the years that they said “f-ck it”and set them all up on the lawn? Judging by how much work was put into this Christmas display, I’d say these people are pretty damn inspired. The rays of yuletide cheer emanate from this front yard and the snow makes it look even more festive. Take a look at a few pictures I snapped with my iPhone. Look out for the giant size Grinch and Santa Claus blow-ups, and on the doorstep stands animatronic Mr. and Mrs. Claus figures who sing, talk, and dance.

Recently, I came across one of the most amazing websites that has conjured up so many memories from my childhood. features a history of illuminated blow mold Christmas decorations as well as a ton of amazing photos. To say that “everyone had these figures” is an understatement, especially because people are still putting out the same lighted Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman figures that that have been putting out for the last 20 – 30 years. Ride around your neighborhood and I bet you’ll find at least a couple of houses with lawn decorations that are pictured over at Blow Molds R Us. According to the sites disclaimer, these figures aren’t made anymore and it’s a shame because they are probably considered antiques at this point. Man, I feel old!

South Plainfield

Kick Out the Jams, Bennigan’s!

Even though it was a cold, bitter Saturday night, my girl and I were up for going out. We agreed on going to see “The Hitcher.” She had some passes to a theater chain that I’ve only been to once but we figured we’d give it a shot. We hopped on 287 to South Plainfield and drove into the parking lot of the theater. I immediately saw a line forming at the box office which was situated OUTSIDE the theater. How many thousands of years ago was this place built that you need Eskimo gear to actually purchase tickets? After declaring this as definite CRAP, my girlfriend decided to nonchalantly drop in the fact that they DIDN’T have stadium seating! This was an afterthought to her because she doesn’t understand that my viewing experience is paramount to me actually venturing outside my domain to go see a movie. The surrounding must be pretty damn good for me to go see a new movie considering it’ll probably be on cable in a matter of months. Add all of that to the fact that there wasn’t a parking spot in sight because the lot only had 43 spots. Needless to say I vetoed the movie theater idea as fast as you can say “What a shitty remake!”

The lady was hungry so Bennigan’s it was. I swear nowadays you cannot go in there without thinking of the movie Waiting. As we pushed through the entrance doors we were greeted by the Bennigan’s guy and he informed us that “they’re running about a 15-20 minute wait.” I though this was completely insane because there couldn’t have been more than 20 people in the entire establishment at that moment. We opted to sit at the bar and tough it out there. As we hung out with our drinks served by the bald, scary, stare a hole through you, pierced, bartender I tried to listen to the nostalgic tunes on coming out of the ceiling speakers.

The variety of music was mostly from the ’90s. There were some memory jogging songs that came on, but it was one in particular that blew my mind. I immediately recognized the first few seconds but I brushed it off as my mind playing tricks on me. As a few more seconds passed, a familiar voice raps “Im back and Im ringin‘ the bell rockin on the mic while the fly girls yell…” It was none other than Vanilla Ice’sPlay that Funky Music White Boy.” Dumbfounded is a word that doesn’t properly describe my feeling at the time. I never thought I would hear this song again since the days of Vanilla Ice on MTV. Perhaps there’s a renewed interest in Rob Van Winkle since he keeps showing up on VH1. Whatever it may be, I’m proud of Bennigan’s for not just playing typical crap. It’s official, the only two places that you can hear Vanilla Ice: Bennigan’s and my iPod.