‘Silver Linings Playbook’ draws diners to special booth at Llanerch

A key scene from Oscar-nominated “Silver Linings Playbook,” starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, takes place in a roadside restaurant in Upper Darby: the Llanerch Diner. Now longtime regulars are competing with new fans of the movie for a seat at a booth.

At one booth in particular.

“I’m getting pancakes and scrambled eggs. That’s my favorite,” said Anthony Panella, 90, who has been coming to the Llanerch (pronounced LAN-ark) almost every week for decades. The day the Oscar nominations were announced, Panella attended an early-morning funeral of a friend then settled into the 24-hour breakfast menu.

“It’s a wonderful place,” he siad. “It’s a good old meeting place.”

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Panella could not get a table one day in October a couple of years ago when a film crew took over the diner to shoot a pivotal moment in the film: the scene where two chemically unstable characters, played by Cooper and Lawrence, have a disastrous first date.

“Why did you order Raisin Bran?” asks Tiffany (Lawrence).

“Why did you order tea?” counters Pat (Cooper).

“Because you ordered Raisin Bran,” says Tiffany through a milky spoonful of shared bran.

“I ordered Raisin Bran because I didn’t want there to be any mistaking it for a date.”

“It can still be a date if you order Raisin Bran.”

“It’s not a date.”

Roula Kosmatos, a waitress at the Llanerch, was there the day that scene was shot.

“You always think, ‘Hollywood, they get paid all this money, and they just shoot this movie.’ But it’s really hard work,” said Kosmatos, who watched the cast and crew work 26 straight hours to get that scene. “I stayed. I wasn’t going anywhere. It was Bradley Cooper. When else was I gonna be that close to Brad…? He’s so hot, by the way.”

Since then, the popularity of the diner has shot up. Particularly, the popularity of that exact booth.

“The wait in line to sit at the Bradley Cooper booth — the one he’s clearing off right now,” said Kosmatos, nodding behind her to a busboy wiping down one of the booths by the windows. “The guys want to sit where Jennifer Lawrence sat, and the girls want to sit where Bradley Cooper sat.”

At the moment, Paul Manganella was sitting exactly where Lawrence had sat. The student at nearby St. Joseph’s University had not seen the movie yet, but was still excited by the booth.

“To sit where someone sat is fantastic,” said Manganella, sarcastically. “No … it’s really cool to have big celebrities like that. Pretty cool to have something like that happen right down the road.”

“Silver Linings Playbook” is competing against several very strong contenders in a very crowded field for Best Picture. When the winners are announced on Feb. 24, the Llanerch Diner plans on having a viewing party.

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