You’re not imagining things: The same restaurants are used in almost every movie

You’ll be watching a famous movie or TV show, when suddenly you’re struck with the sensation that you’ve seen that particular place or setting before —we’ve all been there. Usually it’s the mountains of Southern California doubling as the Sahara Desert, or the beaches of Santa Monica doubling as the Bahamas, but what about the same restaurants over and over and over and over? You’re not just imagining things: the same restaurants you see over and over again in movies are actually the same restaurants.

And it’s not a coincidence, though Hollywood may want you to think so. Can you believe the same exact diner where Tom Hanks’ character in Catch Me If You Can sipped coffee is also where Luke Wilson hung out in Old School and Joseph Gordon-Levitt contemplated his romantic fate in 500 Days of Summer?

If you live in Los Angeles, you may have already scratched your head at this predicament. There are entire store fronts that seem empty, like a ghost town nearly all year. These businesses are thriving just through movie location rentals, like the Quality Cafe described above, or Johnie’s Coffee Shop which has been featured in movies like The Big Lebowski and American History X.

Then there are even weirder locations with identity crises like the Ghostbusters headquarters doubling up as a location in The Mask, or Vasquez Rocks being used for Star Trek, Army of Darkness, Blazing Saddles and more.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get in that movie location game! Throw a fireman’s pole, a giant boulder-looking rock, and a cafe’ into your home and your place could be featured in the next ten Hollywood blockbusters!

Check out this deep-dive into the same restaurants used on many, many movie sets:

(Image via Dune Entertainment)