Somehow I’ve managed to live in New York for two years and not hear about Ellen’s Stardust Diner until now. It’s totally a tourist trap – in the middle of Times Square with exorbitant prices, but it boasts something even I was willing to wade through the Times Square mosh pit for – singing waitstaff! And not just any singing waitstaff – Broadway singers between Broadway jobs, literally singing for their supper.
The outside isn’t much to look at. It looked so dodgy in fact, that Alec waited outside with Cheese while I poked my head in to make sure it wasn’t a total dump. What I saw, however, was this …
As you can see from the photo, the diner was packed. It’s two floors so there’s lots of room, and when we arrived at 2pm we didn’t have to wait at all for a prime table.
A word of warning, this place is loud. So loud I had to point at the menu to my waitress after she dropped by once her number was over (she was excellent, by the way. I would totally pay to see her in a show).
The menu is huge – and really overpriced. Be prepared to get totally fleeced in this diner. You will however, in return, get a solid, decent meal, and an amazing show of constant, extremely high quality, singing. Also, take note that you’ll have to tip the staff twice – once to your individual server for their wait service, and once for the entire team for their singing, as they only get paid minimal wage ($5 an hour – WTF?!) and don’t get paid to sing. Whoever is running this joint is making a FORTUNE.
Our visit however was well worth the expense. All three of us enjoyed the singing immensely, as well as being happy with the food. Cheese spent the majority of our time there standing up in the highchair and dancing. She just couldn’t believe all of the live music – when various singers walked straight up to her and sang to her, I thought her little head was going to explode with joy.
This was not a relaxing lunch experience by a long shot – but it was so enjoyable that we will definitely be back. Note to dairy lovers who order shakes – they will bring out the shake in a glass plus the leftovers in the metal cup it was spun in, so unless you can stomach two shakes in a sitting, be safe and share with a friend.
Stroller storage: Yes – bring a folding stroller if possible though.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: Yes.
Baby-friendly rating: ♥♥♥♥-
Ellen’s Stardust Diner
1650 Broadway (at 51st st),
Phone: (212) 956 5151
Hours: Mon-Thur 7am-12am, Fri-Sat 7am-1am, Sun 7am-11pm
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!