Crushable Mother’s Day: Before They Were Famous

For Mother’s Day, we asked our moms to tell their favorite stories of celebrity encounters. First up is my lovely mom, Renée Zutter, who lived and worked in New York City in the 1980s and knew all the fun hotspots.

After college my group of girl friends were really missing the bar/restaurant we used to hang out at on campus [at Syracuse University]… our own personal Cheers if you will, where you could go any time of day or night and know someone (or at least recognize the regulars) and feel comfortable.

Soon after we moved to Manhattan our friend Jeff opened what would later become the first hip exercise studio, but at the time he was hurting for clients and hit us up to come once a week to take one of his classes. After sweating it up that first Thursday night we went across the street to a neighborhood bar/restaurant to eat and drink back all the calories we had just lost. This soon became a ritual, every Thursday night, same time, same place. Same people.

The bartender was really obnoxious but funny and would proposition anything in a skirt. He had a rep around town because he tended bar at a number of places and everyone had a “Bruno story.” Two guys who were roommates and made an odd couple (one tall and gorgeous the other short and really funny) were usually there.

Who knew that Bruno would end up on a hit TV show that Fall trading barbs with Cybill Shepherd or that the tall half of the odd couple would end up in tights playing Superman? Oh, and the funny one took a left at Ork and landed his own TV series as well.

Later on that year we couldn’t get in to Cafe Central because the line was out the door and around the block… someone even swore they had seen a bus full of Japanese tourists trying to park nearby. Turns out People magazine had run a feature on our bar and ruined the place for the regulars.

I like this story because it speaks to all the wonderfully talented and creative people that call New York City home. Where else can you hang out with the next Bruce Willis, Christopher Reeve, or Robin Williams before they’re famous?

– as told to Natalie Zutter

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