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Ellen's Stardust Diner

Ellen’s Stardust Diner: Tourists Guide to NYC’s Musical Diner

If you’re heading to New York City and want a unique dining experience, don’t miss Ellen’s Stardust Diner. It’s like stepping into the 1950s, where your meal comes with a live show from singing waiters. Think of it as enjoying a bit of Broadway while you eat!

In this guide, we’ll show you what makes Ellen’s Stardust Diner a must-visit spot and what you can look forward to when you go there.

Key Takeaways

  • Ellen’s Stardust Diner: A unique dining spot in New York City, offering a lively 1950s theme and live performances from singing waitstaff.
  • Broadway Dreams: The diner is known for its talented singing waitstaff, many of whom have gone on to perform on Broadway.
  • Diverse Menu: Ellen’s Stardust Diner offers a wide range of dishes, from breakfast favourites to hearty entrees, along with vegetarian and gluten-free options. Signature shakes and desserts add to the dining experience.

ellen's stardust diner world famous singing waitstaff

Ellen’s Stardust Diner: A Unique Dining Experience

Right in the pulsing heart of New York City, Ellen’s Stardust Diner is a beacon of fun that rises above the typical Manhattan restaurant. It’s a place where the vibe is infectious, the staff burst into song, and the décor whisks you back to the 1950s. Here, every meal comes with a front-row seat to an impromptu Broadway show, courtesy of the diner’s famed singing waitstaff.

Singing Waiters and Broadway Dreams

At Ellen’s Stardust Diner, the singing waitstaff are not just servers; they are talented performers who serve up a side of Broadway dreams with your meal. The diner has a reputation for being a launchpad for Broadway hopefuls, and some have even received critical acclaim for their contributions to original musicals at the NY Musical Theater Festival.

Nostalgic 1950s Theme

The diner is a celebration of Americana, decked out with authentic décor from the ‘50s and ‘60s. Plush leather seats invite guests to settle in, while the walls showcase a treasure trove of memorabilia, including photos of legendary figures like John Travolta.

The ambiance of the diner is a tribute to the era, with unique pieces such as vintage Miss Subways photographs, a Predicta television set, and a screen showcasing classic 1950s performances.

Since opening in 1987, Ellen’s Stardust Diner has been a pioneer in reviving the 1950s dining experience in the heart of New York City, with its original waitstaff adding to the charm with their vibrant performances.

ellen's diner new york city

Mouth-watering Menu Selections

At Ellen’s Stardust Diner, the menu selection is as diverse as the performances. From breakfast favourites to hearty entrees and signature sandwiches, there’s a dish for every craving. And while the food might be described as modest compared to the dazzling performances, it certainly doesn’t lack in variety or flavour.

Whether you’re starting your day with breakfast favourites like Challah French Toast or feasting on Blue Plates like Love Me Tenders chicken fingers for dinner, the menu boasts a selection of dishes that cater to all tastes.

And for the adventurous diner, there are inventive options like the ‘Holy Moly French Toast’ and ‘Confetti Pancakes’ that add a fun twist to the traditional breakfast menu.

Breakfast Delights

Kick-start your day at Ellen’s Stardust Diner with a range of classic breakfast dishes that ensure a delightful morning meal experience. Try the ‘Morning Glory’, a breakfast special featuring homemade corned beef hash that puts a unique twist on a breakfast classic.

If you’re in the mood to get creative with your breakfast, the ‘Egg-Citing Omelettes’ section lets you create your own omelette masterpiece, or choose from flavour-packed options like The Fab Four and The Denver.

For those craving a heartier breakfast, the ‘Breakfast Burger’ serves up a juicy burger topped with a sunny side up egg and bacon, combining traditional breakfast elements with an American diner staple.

Signature Sandwiches and Burgers

Next up on the menu are Ellen’s signature sandwiches and burgers, which offer a hearty and satisfying option for lunch or dinner. The diner features a host of signature sandwiches, including the Philly Cheesesteak with tender sliced steak, the Ruby Reuben complete with corned beef and swiss cheese on grilled rye bread.

Burger lovers are in for a treat with the ‘Be Bop a Lula Burger’, served with a side of homemade waffle fries that have garnered positive reviews from diners. And let’s not forget the classic Grilled American Cheese Sandwich, a highlighted menu choice among visitors to the diner, as well as the delicious grilled chicken option, perfectly complemented by a fresh pico de gallo.

Vegetarian and Gluten-Free Options

Ellen’s Stardust Diner caters to a variety of dietary needs, including vegetarian and gluten-free options. Vegetarian guests can savour:

  • The ‘Hart’-Healthy Avocado Toast with homemade avocado purée
  • Vegetarian Classic Baked Quiche with spinach and garlic croutons
  • Plant-based Beyond™ meat products like the Beyond Burrito and Beyond Burger.

Gluten-sensitive visitors are not left out either. They can enjoy a variety of options including:

  • The gluten-free Vegetarian Lentil Soup
  • Gluten-friendly pasta for an extra charge
  • Salads like the Stardust Signature Salad and Mexican Quinoa Bowl that cater to their dietary needs.

ellen's stardust diner world famous singing waitstaff

Stellar Drinks and Desserts

A trip to Ellen’s Stardust Diner would be incomplete without sampling their signature shakes and irresistible desserts.

The diner boasts a selection of signature shakes, offering flavours such as:

  • Cookie Monster
  • S’MORE
  • Tiramisu
  • Mint Cookies + Cream
  • Salted Caramel Pretzel
  • Triple Chocolate

For those looking to customise their shake, the Old Fashioned Milkshake lets patrons pick their favourite ice cream flavours, including vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, coffee, mint chip, or cookie dough.

And if you’re in the mood for a boozy twist, Ellen’s offers options like Megan’s Special Mudslide made with vanilla ice cream, New Amsterdam Vodka, Kahlúa, and Baileys Irish Cream, and the option to add a floater of Goslings Black Rum to any shake.

Signature Shakes and Tin Can Alley

The diner’s signature shakes are a delight in their own right, with each offering a unique flavour experience. The Cookie Monster shake, for example, combines cookie dough ice cream and chocolate chips for a truly indulgent treat. Or try the Hot Fudge Milkshake, a simple yet classic treat made with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.

For those craving a healthier alternative, the Tin Can Alley presents the Jimmy Fallon Shake with fresh bananas, wheat germ, skim milk, and non-fat frozen yogurt. And remember, you can always turn any signature shake into a boozy delight by adding spirits like Sailor Jerry Rum, Jim Beam Bourbon, Fireball, or Strawberry Rumchata.

Irresistible Dessert Offerings

Ellen’s Stardust Diner is not just about the shakes; they also offer a collection of signature desserts and tasty sides like onion rings that are as enticing as they are delicious. Take, for instance, the multi-layered Rainbow Cake. Packed with vibrant colours, it’s an offering of ‘rainbow happiness’ that’s sure to brighten up your meal.

Ice cream lovers can indulge in the Barbarino’s Banana Split, replete with three scoops of ice cream, sauces, and classic toppings, or the colossal Kitchen Sink dessert designed for groups.

And for those who love classic dessert fare, the traditional New York Cheesecake and the Stardust City Brownie, served with ice cream and hot fudge, are must-try items..

ellen's stardust diner world famous singing waitstaff

Tips for Visiting Ellen’s Stardust Diner

At Ellen’s Stardust Diner, wait times can vary significantly throughout the day, ranging from 45 minutes to 2 hours. While the diner does not offer reservations, being aware of these fluctuations can help you plan your visit more effectively. For a shorter wait, consider arriving early in the morning or during mid-afternoon, typically around 3pm, when the diner is less crowded.

It’s also wise to be prepared for a spontaneous wait, as the diner’s popularity can lead to longer queues, especially during peak dining times. By anticipating these wait periods, you can ensure a more enjoyable experience, immersing yourself in the diner’s vibrant atmosphere and unique performances without the stress of a long wait.

Best Times to Visit

Choosing the right time to visit Ellen’s Stardust Diner can enhance your experience. If you prefer a quieter and more relaxed setting, consider visiting during off-peak hours or on weekdays, particularly from Monday to Thursday.

Winter months, especially January and February, typically see fewer tourists, so this is an excellent time to dine with reduced wait times, avoiding the usual tourist trap. Also, the diner hosts a special event during Halloween, providing a unique visiting experience. So, plan your visit accordingly and get ready for a fun-filled dining experience!

ellen's stardust diner world famous singing waitstaff

A Stepping Stone to the Stage

Ellen’s Stardust Diner isn’t just a place to enjoy a burger and a milkshake; it’s a launchpad for Broadway stars. The singing waitstaff don’t just serve you your meal; they might just be serving up the next big hit on Broadway.

Over the years, the diner has become known as a launchpad for performers, with many waiters and waitresses going on to grace the stages of some of the most renowned productions, including:

  • Avenue Q
  • Jersey Boys
  • The Lion King
  • South Pacific
  • In The Heights
  • On The Town
  • Wicked
  • Godspell

The diner’s hall of fame includes names like Brandon Ellis, Eric Michael Krop, and Stephen Tyler Davis, who have all dazzled audiences with their talents in musicals and at events like the New York Musical Theater Festival.

Their success stories are a testament to the diner’s role in the world of performing arts, making your dining experience a brush with the bright stars of the future.

ellen's stardust diner world famous singing waitstaff

Final Thoughts

Ellen’s Stardust Diner is more than just a diner. It’s a unique destination where guests can enjoy a meal while being entertained by talented singing waitstaff.

With its nostalgic 1950s theme, diverse menu, stellar drinks and desserts, and appearances in popular culture, the diner offers a one-of-a-kind dining experience in the heart of New York City.


Do they sing all day at Ellen’s Stardust diner?

Yes, the singing waitstaff at Ellen’s Stardust Diner sing all day from open to close. So, you can enjoy their performances throughout the day.

Where is Ellen’s Stardust Diner?

Ellen’s Stardust Diner is located at 1650 Broadway, New York, NY 10019, at the corner of 51st Street and Broadway in Manhattan.

How often do they sing at Ellen’s Stardust diner?

The waitstaff at Ellen’s Stardust Diner sing all day from open to close, taking turns performing as solo acts or duets, and even involving the crowd in the singing at times. So, you can expect to enjoy musical entertainment throughout your visit.

Why is Ellen’s Stardust diner so popular?

People are drawn to Ellen’s Stardust Diner not only for its classic American diner fare but also for the unique opportunity to witness future Broadway stars in action.

Can You Make Advance Reservations for Ellen’s Stardust Diner?

Unfortunately, advance reservations are not available at Ellen’s Stardust Diner. Guests have to queue to enter, which can take up to 2 hours during peak times, so it’s advisable to factor this wait into your day.

Holly Smith

I Love Musical Theatre and made the West End World Website To Share My Experiences, Reviews & Theatre News.