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Talking to customers at Holsten’s restaurant in Bloomfield, where the “Sopranos “ finale was shot, about the proposed big-screen prequel film.
Jim Beckerman/NorthJersey.com

The next generation of “Sopranos” lore stopped by the spot where the main series ended when Michael Gandolfini visited the famous Holsten’s booth in Bloomfield, New Jersey, where his father, James, once sat in his last episode as Tony Soprano.

Gandolfini, who will play a young Tony in the upcoming prequel “Newark,” posed for a photo in the spot featured in the 2007 series finale, which famously ended with that abrupt cut-to-black that left viewers wondering what was wrong with their TVs. 

Karl J. Schnider, general manager of Holsten’s, said Gandolfini was likely there just for a visit or a break. While Schnider did not get to see him when he came by Friday, he met him around the time James Gandolfini died in 2013. People left mementos at the booth as a makeshift memorial for James Gandolfini, which were collected by Michael, now 19, and his family.

“Even at that age he just looked so much like his dad,” Schnider said. “Nice guy, gentle giant.”

The photo of Michael Gandolfini was posted to the Holsten’s Facebook page Thursday. People used it as a chance to share their own photos in the booth and memories of “The Sopranos.”

“He’s definitely got his dad’s eyes and smile,” one person wrote in the comments.  

Holsten’s became synonymous with “The Sopranos” as the setting for the end of the final episode. Tony Soprano and his family dined on onion rings while talking in the booth, with “Don’t Stop Believing” playing on the jukebox. The series ends in a now infamous fade to black, which many believe to signify Tony Soprano’s death.

“The Sopranos” turned 20 in 2019 and fans remain fervent two decades later. A fan convention dubbed “SopranosCon” will be held in Secaucus in November. 

Michael Mota, one of the organizers of the “SopranosCon,” said they sold 500 tickets in the first week. Guests scheduled to appear at the Meadowlands Expo Center include the actors who played Furio Giunta, Pussy Bonpensiero, Richie Aprile, as well as Patsy and Spoons Parisi.

“People are just very excited,” Mota said. “There’s never been a time when all of these cast members have come back in one spot.”

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The convention will feature autographs, question-and-answer sessions and a chance for fans to take pictures with the actors. 

Holsten’s is also expected to have a spot at the expo. Schnider said they’re glad to still be part of “The Sopranos” legacy.

“I would never change that for the world,” he said. “It’s great. We were famous before and now we’re infamous.”

Email: jongsma@northjersey.com 

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