Ellen's Stardust Diner

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Ellen's Stardust Diner
Ellen's Stardust logo.gif
Ellen's Stardust.jpg
Restaurant information
Head chefGiovanny Tufino
Food typeAmerican cuisine[1]
Street address1650 Broadway (at 51st Street)
CityNew York City
CountyNew York
StateNew York
Postal/ZIP Code10019
CountryUnited States
Coordinates40°45′43″N 73°59′00″W / 40.76182°N 73.9834°W / 40.76182; -73.9834Coordinates: 40°45′43″N 73°59′00″W / 40.76182°N 73.9834°W / 40.76182; -73.9834
ReservationsReservations for parties over 20[2]

Ellen's Stardust Diner is a retro 1950s theme restaurant located at 1650 Broadway[3] on the southeast corner of 51st Street in Theater District, Manhattan, New York City.[2] The diner is regarded as one of the best theme restaurants in New York owing to its singing waitstaff.[4] The diner also contains retro-themed memorabilia such as photos of many past Miss Subways on the walls, an indoor train, a 1956 Predicta television, and a “drive-in theater” screen that showcases performances of the 1950s. It is popular among children and adults.[1]


Ellen's Stardust Diner was opened in 1987 after Ellen's Cafe was closed down.[5][6] It was the first 1950s theme restaurant in New York City and had waitresses in poodle skirts.[5] In the late 1990s, a sister restaurant operated near Times Square under the name Stardust Dine-O-Mat.[6]

During 2016–2017, the restaurant saw a period of unrest, when it was alleged that 31 waiters were fired after attempting to form a union, and the restaurant counter-claimed that the terminated employees had defrauded it of hundreds of thousands of dollars. In October 2017, a settlement was agreed to give the fired workers the opportunity to return to their jobs if they wished, and to give them back pay from the date of their firing. The settlement came about days before the issue was due to come to trial following a decision by the National Labor Relations Board.[7]

In popular culture[edit]

Ellen's Stardust Diner was the site in the movie New Year's Eve where Sarah Jessica Parker’s character and her 15-year-old daughter’s friends stopped for a bite after the ball dropped.[8] It was also featured in American Idol when a former employee, Devyn Rush, became a contestant on the show. Reports subsequently followed regarding Devyn's employment status at Ellen's Stardust Diner.[9] Ellen's Diner was also featured on a Today Show episode.[10]

Alumni on Broadway[edit]

Singer at Ellen's Stardust Diner

Several alums of Ellen's Stardust Diner singing waitstaff have gone on to have successful careers on Broadway theatre and American Idol. Many current staffers have received critical acclaim with original musicals at NY Musical Theater Festival.[4] Brandon Ellis, Eric Michael Krop, Stephen Tyler Davis,[4] and Alysha Umphress (Shirley)[11] are some of the successful singers who had started their careers as singing wait-staffers at Ellen's Stardust Diner. Ellen's Stardust Diner is considered a breeding ground for singers. Former Ellen's staff members have been known to star in almost every Broadway and major off-Broadway musical such as Avenue Q, Jersey Boys, The Lion King, South Pacific, In The Heights, On The Town, Wicked, and Godspell.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Ellen's Stardust Diner – New York". Weekendnotes.com. February 24, 2010. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Contact « Ellens Stardust Diner | Home of the Singing Waitstaff". Ellensstardustdiner.com. Archived from the original on October 10, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  3. ^ "The 4 Best Themed Restaurants In New York City". CBS New York. August 31, 2011. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d NiteLifeExchange. "Ellen's Stardust Diner Staffers Showcase Three New Musicals at NY Musical Theatre Festival". Nitelifeexchange.com. Archived from the original on July 30, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Ellen'S Cafe Sez Farewell, City Hall". NY Daily News. April 27, 2001. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Friedwald, Will (September 30, 2010). "Saluting a Maker of Local Landmarks". wsj.com. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  7. ^ Maslin Nir, Sarah (October 4, 2017). "Singing Waiters, Once Fired, Will Hit the Red Vinyl Stage Again". NYTimes.com. Retrieved October 7, 2017.
  8. ^ Stack, Tim. "'New Year's Eve': 10 plot points that would never happen". Popwatch.ew.com. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  9. ^ "'Idol' Waitress Loses Job After 'A.I.' Audition". TMZ. January 25, 2011. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  10. ^ "Today Gets A Laugh: Kathie Lee &... Stock Footage & Video Clips". NBC. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  11. ^ "Alysha Umphress". Alysha Umphress. Archived from the original on April 30, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2013.