Bada Bing Strip Club, James Gandolfini Shrine


Tony Soprano lives on in the famous locales the iconic mob boss once haunted.

Following the shocking news that James Gandolfini passed away in Rome at the age of 51, a pair of New Jersey locations that figured prominently in the Emmy-winning HBO series have set up poignant shrines to the man who brought the combustible Mafioso to life.

Over at Holsten's diner in Bloomfield, co-owner Ron Stark has placed a "reserved" sign on the table where Gandolfini and his onscreen family shared their last meal before everything infamously and abruptly went to black—a silent memorial to a beloved actor who helped conjure up one of pop culture's most seminal TV moments.

"This is just our way of saying thank you for having the opportunity to meet you and work with you, and it's upsetting that he's gone," co-owner Ron Stark tells E! News during an exclusive sit-down at the restaurant's historic booth.

"He was a great guy to work with," the restaurant owner recalls about shooting the series finale at Holsten's. "He grew up in New Jersey, he was a regular guy. And he never changed, he just stayed a great person."

After word spread that Gandolfini had died, Holsten's owners estimate that up to 500 people stopped by the joint—an attempt, it seems, to honor and remember the acclaimed star.

"It's a reminder," Stark offers. "Maybe it gives them closure because this is the last thing basically they saw...that he did."

James Gandolfini, The Sopranos, Reserved Sign, Holsteins

HBO; AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Meanwhile, over in the town of Lodi, about 15 mins northeast of Holsten's, lies the real-life locale for the series' fictional Bada Bing strip club: Satin Dolls.

And, just as with Holsten's, fans have flooded the club to pay their respects to the fallen star.

"It's very somber here," club spokesman Bill Pepe tells E! News. "Everyone is mourning the loss of our good friend James Gandolfini. It's like losing a member of the family."

When the owners heard the news of his death, "It was like someone pulled the life out of the entire club," he adds.

According to Pepe, Gandolfini had visited the club "a few times" while The Sopranos was shooting. "He came in, he was very social, very cordial and really approachable. And he was just a great, great actor," he explains.

Visitors have been drawn, in particular, to the exact spot where Gandolfini once sat as Tony Soprano—and the space has now become an impromptu shrine in his memory.

"No one is sitting there," Pepe says. "There's a picture of Gandolfini, a hat, license plate and T-shirts on a chair." Fans have also placed flowers outside the club.

And for bereaved die-hards looking drown away their sorrows, we're told that Satin Dolls is planning to pay tribute Gandolfini by way of drink specials, T-shirts and wristbands.

The club owners have also been playing The Sopranos' theme song, as well as series finale's de facto musical gods, Journey, throughout the club.

Gandolfini may be gone, but here in Jersey, the faithful just won't stop believin'.

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