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Jersey Stories

12:35 PM, May 7, 2013 • By VICTORINO MATUS
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I once suggested the Garden State be renamed the Diner State—New Jersey has more of them supposedly per capita than any other state in the union. They all seem to be open 24 hours and offer the kinds of food I love, especially around 2 a.m., such as a Western omelet, corned beef hash and eggs, and disco fries (French fries in gravy and melted cheese). And they have terrific names like the Golden Bell, Queen Nefertiti, Athena, and the Tick Tock Diner. The latter was already well known, but now it is the center of a (ahem) Greek tragedy involving a torture and murder plot within a family.

Georgios Spyropoulos allegedly wanted to kill his uncle, Alex Sgourdos, a co-owner of the Tick Tock Diner (as well as have him tortured until he opened the house safe). As Kate Zernike explained in the New York Times,

In late February, according to the affidavit, [Spyropoulos] reached out to someone he knew from the diner—who was working as a confidential informer for the State Police—and asked for his help in finding a man to kill Mr. Sgourdos. According to the affidavit, he wanted the body disposed of to make it look like a missing-persons case, which he believed would attract less police attention. Officials said he promised to split whatever was found in the safe with the confidential informer.

Perhaps the most striking detail in the Times story (at least for me) was that the diner did 3,000 eggs for breakfast each day. That's a lot of eggs.

Wise guys like to hang out in diners. I've seen them. It's just a part of diner culture, as anyone who's seen Goodfellas knows—but it's also a place for cops, couples, and kids after a night out. It's a place for everyone. Let's hope that'll still be the case for the Tick Tock Diner.

Now if you found that tale a little hard to stomach, how about the news that Governor Chris Christie had stomach surgery? People are already wondering if this is preparation for 2016. A fellow in the book-making industry told me he had it on good authority that Christie has already decided to run and wants New Mexico governor Susana Martinez as his running mate. Yes, that's a big ticket and we'd have much to weigh in on. But seriously, it's good to know Governor Christie has already dropped 40 pounds and hopefully more. Or did you not notice? Did it remind you of this scene from The Sopranos?

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