I have two words to describe this place to you: pure fun! And it's just one block from home for me. Ellen's Stardust Diner is a must for any fun-loving Times Square visitor. Whenever I walked past Ellen's, I always thought I heard live singing coming from inside. This has intrigued me for months. My curiosity about the 1955 retro diner grew over the past year until finally the perfect opportunity arose to dine there - a friend came to town this week.
My buddy Anne is on my team at work but works remotely from her monstrous new RV in the Carolinas. (I’m pretty sure the RV is bigger than my apartment – even the 37” TV is bigger than mine.)
Anyway, Anne and I have known each other for a year without ever meeting in person. She’s a down-to-earth, beer-drinking, fun-loving southern gal with a Kentucky accent and a great sense of humor. We hit it off the first time we emailed each other.
One of the neat things about where I live is that I can step outside, walk in any direction, and easily find a dozen places to eat within a couple blocks. Anne and I did just that and found ourselves at the Stardust. I’ll never forget that evening as long as I live.
The energetic wait staff, as it happens, is composed of wannabe singers. Not just ordinary singers – good singers. And I mean good. This ain’t Karaoke, folks. This is pure entertainment, Broadway style! Not only can these waiters and waitresses sing while they work, but they clearly enjoy it. They wear 1950’s greasy-spoon server outfits, and the girls have pony tails. Every staff member sings. One guy or gal would sing a well-known tune (while bouncing around and passing out menus to new arrivals) and then pass the remote mike to the next server to do the next song.
These kids (and their manager) sang every style of song imaginable, from Dean Martin to Melissa Manchester. They even sang a country song about a redneck woman – and Anne was all but on the table clapping her hands and singing along. I had fun just watching her having fun! We even made friends with the guy sitting next to us - a regular who works across the street at Lehman Brothers.
Not only that, but the food was good, although we weren’t paying much attention to it. The Boo-bop-alu burger I had was the best-tasting hamburger I’ve had in NYC. And it didn’t cost $38 like in some midtown restaurants. I was surprised by the reasonable prices.
We stayed long enough to contribute sizable tips to the wait staff’s bucket – a tin pail they call Phillip – before going home. I haven’t had that much fun in a while. Man I love New York. Here are a few pictures. . . .