If Britney Spears, Robert De Niro, and Jay-Z could try their hands at running a New York City restaurant, then why not Al Lewis, aka Grandpa Munster?
From 1987 to 1993, you could find the tall, affable Lewis—once a basketball star at Thomas Jefferson High School in East New York—in the restaurant he opened on Bleecker and Leroy Streets, Grampa’s Bella Gente Italian.
After Grampa’s closed, he didn’t cease being a local celebrity. Lewis hosted a political talk show on WBAI in the 1990s. He even ran for governor in 1998 on the Green Party ticket (and scored 52,000 votes).
He died at age 82 in his home on Roosevelt Island.
[restaurant ad from the 1990 NYU course catalog]