Ellen's Stardust Diner

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Ellen's Stardust Diner
Ellen's Stardust.jpg
Restaurant information
Established 1987
Head chef Giovanny Tufino
Food type American cuisine[1]
Street address 1650 Broadway (at 51st Street)
City New York City
County New York
State New York
Postal/ZIP code 10019
Country United States
Coordinates 40°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
Reservations Reservations for parties over 20[2]
Website www.ellensstardustdiner.com

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]

Labor Disputes[edit]

In August 2016, servers at Ellen's Stardust Diner formed a union called Stardust Family United, a branch of the Industrial Workers of the World.[7][8] The servers, also known as 'Stardusters', organized to contest newly instituted employment policies and the firing of 30 employees, as well as to fight for pay parity between tipped and non-tipped workers.[9]

Since last updated, Ken Sturm; son of Ellen Hart Sturm and owner of Ellen's Stardust Diner has fired 15 more union-affiliated Stardusters under the false accusation of misconduct. These firings include members who have worked at the diner for ten years or longer, as well as a vegan pastry chef suffering from stage 4 liver cancer. This action brings the number of illegally terminated union members to 33 as of 1/25/2017.[10]

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.[11] 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.[12] Ellen's Diner was also featured on a Today Show episode.[13]

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)[14] are some of 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. ^ Dai, Serena (August 29, 2016). "Singing Servers of Ellen's Stardust Diner Form a Union". Eater New York. New York, New York. Retrieved September 24, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Stardust Family United". Retrieved September 24, 2016. 
  9. ^ Maslin Nir, Sarah (August 26, 2016). "A Manhattan Diner's New Management Has Servers Singing a Defiant Tune". The New York Times. New York, New York. Retrieved September 24, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Stardust Diner Fires 15 More Employees; Owners Hit With Wage Theft Suit | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 2017-01-26. 
  11. ^ Stack, Tim. "'New Year's Eve': 10 plot points that would never happen". Popwatch.ew.com. Retrieved January 30, 2013. 
  12. ^ "'Idol' Waitress Loses Job After 'A.I.' Audition". TMZ. January 25, 2011. Retrieved January 30, 2013. 
  13. ^ 51111975215_s49. "Today Gets A Laugh: Kathie Lee &... Stock Footage & Video Clips". NBC. Retrieved January 30, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Alysha Umphress". Alysha Umphress. Archived from the original on April 30, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2013.