It’s no secret that it’s incredibly difficult to make it on Broadway. There are only so many shows and no shortage of amazingly talented singers, actors, and dancers out there, all waiting for their big break. A lot of them end up bartending or waiting tables in the meantime, and some of them…well, some of them get to do so at Ellen’s Stardust Diner.
Stardust Diner is “the home of the singing waiters.” Here, the people taking your order and serving you food are the “future stars of stage and screen.” Everyone who works here not only wants to make it big but has been carefully screened and selected because they all perform during their shifts, singing Broadway hits around the restaurant. These aren’t people who just have good singing voices…these are people who can SAAANG.
Of course, while you’re watching the performances, you’re also eating. The food is standard American fare–the first time I came here I had a chicken pot pie and this time around I had penne alfredo with chicken. Your entree isn’t going to be a culinary masterpiece, but that’s not really the point of the place. The point is to relax and have a good time with the waiters and waitresses parading around the restaurant, walking on top of booths, and belting it out.
You can go on their website to watch some performances, or you can just trust me when I say that it really is great entertainment. Many people who have worked at Stardust have gone on to Broadway careers and the restaurant takes pride in losing one of their staff members when it means they’ve finally gotten their chance on stage.
When I first visited, it was prime dinner time and there was a line that wrapped along the outside of the restaurant. When we finally got in, it felt like they were hurrying us through our meal by having the food come out almost immediately and handing us our checks as soon as we finished our last bite. We tried eating slowly to enjoy more performances, but the speed at which they were attending to us definitely made me think that they’re instructed to get as many people in and out as possible. It makes sense. You don’t want people taking up valuable table space just because they want to hear people sing more. The second time I went was near closing time and it definitely felt more relaxed. There didn’t seem to be any pressure to kick us out after we had eaten our meal and paid the check, probably because there weren’t people waiting for a seat inside. However it is when you go, just know that they perform frequently so you’re guaranteed to see a few numbers.
All in all, Ellen’s Stardust Diner is an excellent spot for birthdays, a post-show dinner (when you just can’t get enough song and dance), or when you can’t afford to go to a show but want to enjoy New York City’s talent.
Penne alfredo with chicken
New York, NY 10019