Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ellen's Stardust Diner

To wind down my adventures through NYC, I decided to head over to a place that was animated, fun and entertaining. Where can you find the next big Broadway star singing "Mama Mia" while playing drums on your head with a pack of straws? If you guessed Ellen's Stardust Diner, then you're right. Founded in 1987 and located in the heart of Times Square at 1650 Broadway,  it is the place to go to liven your spirits and enjoy a good time surrounded by an ever popular singing wait staff. They are quite impressive! As a matter of fact, just about every month a couple of them actually go on to perform in Broadway shows.

I do have to give you one caveat. Come here for the fun - not for the food. Other than the burger, which is probably your best choice, I haven't sampled anything spectacular on their menu. Serving primarily comfort food, the names of the dishes are as original as the diner itself, but don't expect to be wowed in taste.

As you walk into the retro-styled diner, you'll find the wait staff dressed in impromptu costumes and singing both oldies as well as current top hits. They stand on counters behind you, sit next to you, and even pick some brave volunteers to participate in the fun. Personally, I had my head used as a snare drum to the tune of  a Jersey Boys single.  I loved it!

Empanada Sampler

We started off with the Empanada Sampler, which were homemade beef and chicken empanadas, served with mild and spicy dipping sauces. The menu described them as "Peruvian" style but I'm not really sure what that meant. They were average and nothing to write home about. I'd say of the two, I probably preferred the meat, but the filling wasn't too seasoned in either one.

Be Bop a Lula Burger

We then ordered the Be Bop a Lula Burger, a thick patty served on a homemade bun and topped with American Cheese, bacon, grilled onions, sauteed mushrooms, lettuce and tomatoes. It came with a side of crispy and delicious waffle fries and a pickle.  Things momentarily looked up in the culinary department. The patty was juicy and flavorful and the toppings went well together.

I became bold and decided I wanted to sample some more of their comfort food. I saw the Meatloaf on their menu and it was described as "the best in town". Smothered in "Mom's gravy", it was served with mashed potatoes and the night's vegetables. Since I was singing and taking a musical stroll through the 80's, I figured, let's do it. The minute the plate I arrived, I knew I was in for a disappointment. The meatloaf looked so tough, I was hesitant to try it. I did and unfortunately, I was right. It was overcooked and dry, with very little flavor. I ate about half and just settled for the mashed potatoes and vegetables. I definitely would not order the meatloaf here again and I would venture to say it is not the best in town.

We decided to pass on the dessert this time, although I have to say I've eaten dessert here before and it's been good. We focused on enjoying the fun and the singers and bypass any more food. Despite the less-than-fantastic cuisine, I find Ellen's Stardust Diner is a must-try at least once when you're in New York simply for the experience. Stick to the burgers or maybe some desserts if you're looking to have a better meal as you kick back with the musical antics.  If nothing else, you'll walk out giddy and humming familiar tunes after spending some time in the 1950's-themed diner filled with wall-to-wall nostalgic memorabilia. For more information, you can contact them at (212) 956-5151 or visit them online at

Ellen's Stardust Diner on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I went to NYC last month and I also went to Ellen's Stardust Diner. I do agree with you. The entertainment was great, but the food was nothing t write home about. We found another diner a few days later that was great in decor and was definitely a step up as far as food goes. But all in all Ellen's was still a great NYC experience.