Every day, talented people come to New York City, suitcase in hand, hoping to make it on Broadway. But sometimes that dream takes more then a day or a month or two. Enter Ellen’s Stardust Diner, where those with talent and stardust in their eyes have a way to pay their rent on their way to the top—and sharpen their skills along the way.
From 7am to midnight, the entertainment is non-stop. In between waiting tables, their very talented waitstaff take turns singing everything from pop to show tunes and very often will do this standing atop the seating area—a very narrow sort of runway—that acts as their stage, to the delight of their customers.
There’s so much going on, you won’t know where to look first—between the authentic 1950’s Predicta televisions and a drive-in theater screen showcasing performances from the 1950’s to the “Miss Subways” gallery honoring the beauty queens of yesteryear.
The menu offers traditional American fare taking you from pancakes to burgers and fries, then on to meat loaf and chicken pot pie. They have a fabulous desert menu with homemade deserts like apple pie, red velvet cake and whoopee pies, and then there are their egg creams, banana splits, milkshakes & malts.
Several times a day, a large bucket is passed around for discretionary tips with a specific and dedicated use for one of three things: dance classes, singing lessons or acting classes for the waitstaff. Last year (2013) they lost a dozen members of their waitstaff to Broadway shows.
Many of their waitstaff over the years have gone on to careers both on Broadway and off Broadway in musicals such as Avenue Q, Jersey Boys, The Lion King, South Pacific, In The Heights and Wicked. Ellen’s has been the site of several movies.
If you don’t yet have a poodle skirt, there are plenty of local Vintage Shops, then head over to Ellen’s located on the corner of Broadway and 51st Street, across the street from the #1 subway station. You can follow Ellen’s Stardust Diner on Facebook and Twitter.