Gay Travel Information: Ellen’s Stardust Diner – New York, NY

Ellen’s Stardust Diner / 1650 Broadway @ 51st Street / New York, NY  10019 / 212-956-5151

A visit to Ellen’s Stardust Lounge located on Broadway in Midtown Manhattan is a quintessential New York experience. To me it is one of the things that make New York so magical. Just like the bright lights of Times Square.

The pulsating marquees of Broadway shows. The sea of yellow taxi cabs.

Intermingling with tourists from around the world. Shopping at Saks 5th Ave. Taking a stroll through Central Park or ice skating at Rockefeller Plaza,Ellen’s Stardust Diner is as much of an attraction as it is a restaurant. 

Ellen’s, a retro 1950’s themed diner, is filled with not only nostalgic memorabilia, including an authentic 1956 Predicta television & “drive-in theatre” screen, but also home to up and coming Broadway / movie stars.

What makes Ellen’s so unique is that the waitstaff sing while providing you with fantastic service. Your waiter or waitress will take your order one second and the next start belting out a song from  Les Misérables  or, as our adorable waiter, Puck, did – start singing a dead on version of Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You.” 

My partner Jennifer and I recently had the pleasure of experiencing Ellen’s on a busy Saturday night. There was a line out the door and the inside was packed with happy diners enjoying their meals and entertainment. 

The first thing I noticed when we stepped inside was a waitress singing on top of a table! How cool and fun is that??

We made our way through the boisterous crowd and sat at Ellen’s small bar area in the back. The perfect spot to take everything in. 

The decor is adorable and very retro. Everything from Elvis posters to neon! 

Puck, our waiter, was instantly lovable and extremely attentive from the moment we arrived. 

I was told that this year alone over 14 of Ellen’s Stardust Diner waiters/waitresses secured roles in Broadway plays! Now THAT’S talent, everyone! 

Sure, many people can sing, but to interact with the crowd and truly put on a show is something else. That is exactly what the waitstaff at Ellen’s does. 

Ellen’s has earned the reputation as being the starting point for many future Broadway / movie stars. How luck are we to experience such talent FREE during our meal?

HISTORY FACT: Ellen’s got it’s name from Ellen Hart-Sturm, Miss Subway 1959. This served as the inspiration for Miss Turnstile in the classic NYC Musical On the Town and placed Ellen’s picture on subway trains around the city and opened the doors for a singing, acting and modeling career. Ellen married entrepreneur Irving Sturm, and together they opened Ellen’s Cafe across from City Hall which was open for 32 years. Their success led them to open Ellen’s Stardust Diner, the 1950’s-themed eatery with it’s world famous singing staff, The Stardusters, many whom land jobs in Broadway plays and have performed on American Idol. 

The food at Ellen’s is classic American cuisine. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served as they are open from 7am to either 11pm, 12am or 1am. 

For an appetizer Jen and I ordered ‘Irv’s Brooklyn Potato Pancakes’ (crispy potato pancakes served with your choice of either apple sauce or sourcream, melted cheese and bacon). 

The potato pancakes is just what our growling stomachs needed! 

Jen also enjoyed their house blend Sangria which she said was fruity and delicious! 

For our entrees I ordered their Grilled American Cheese and Jen ordered ‘Ryan’s Chicken Pot Pie’ (chunks of chicken with carrots, celery & onions, and served on Mueller’s egg noodles). 

Both were very good and served in a reasonable time considering how busy they were.

For dessert I ordered ‘The Real Red Velvet Cake’ and Jen ordered ‘Squeeze my Lemon’ (a delicious lemon square similar to the classic lemon bar, dusted with powdered sugar). 

YUM! YUM! YUUUUUM!! We are so glad we saved room because both of these were out-of-this-world! 

Between bites and watching the talent before me I also noticed how meticulously operated Ellen’s is. There were workers everywhere. Constant cleaning. Re-stocking. Checking on guests.

Both Jen and I were impressed with how organized everything was. We even chatted with the the super friendly manager on staff that evening, Victor. I asked how long Ellen’s Stardust Diner has been at the Broadway location and he said 15 years. You could tell he was proud to be part of such a unique establishment. 

Honestly my partner and I could’ve stayed at Ellen’s all night. The entertainment was so enjoyable! At one point they even formed a conga line with diners and danced around the restaurant! 


  • Monday-Thursday: 7am to 12am
  • Friday & Saturday: 7am to 1am
  • Sunday: 7am to 11pm
GROUP PARTIES: Ellen’s Stardust Diner would be a fabulous place to host your next event and/or party. For a list of group packages click HERE
CATERING: Yes, Ellen’s caters too! They can custom a menu to meet your needs. For more information click HERE
RESERVATIONS: Reservations are only accepted for groups over 20.

GAY & LESBIAN FACTOR: Ellen’s is as proud of their rainbow colors as the leprechaun from Lucky Charms! It is off the charts gay friendly! There were as many LGBT clientele and staff members as there would be at a Lady GaGa, Madonna, Elton John, Melissa Etheridge or Indigo Girls concert. Just sayin. I mean, c’mon, this IS New York! 😉 Ellen’s is SO gay friendly that they have photos of staff members (and even Ellen Hart-Sturm herself) standing with a pride flag during Gay Pride! Bravo! Ah. What a breath of fresh air to review an establishment that is not only gay friendly but TRULY gay supportive.

An establishment active in the LGBT community and proud to show that. As a matter of fact, Scott Barbarino, was extremely welcoming and happy to host Gay Travel Information at Ellen’s and took great care of us. He even informed me of another place they own, Iridium Jazz Club, which is home to out lesbian, Terese Genecco, a multi-award-winning, multi-talented vocalist, bandleader and comedian who currently is the longest-running nightclub act on Broadway, appearing as a headliner at The Iridium NYC every month. Definitely something worth checking out. It is right next door to Ellen’s. See, It’s places like Ellen’s Stardust Diner and Iridium Jazz Club that make me say “I LOVE NEW YORK” (sorry, had to) extra loud! 😉 I am without a doubt “OUTING” Ellen’s Stardust Diner as LGBT friendly and worthy of our business. 

Ellen’s is a must stop when visiting New York. You will truly find some of New York’s best entertainment here. 

Great food + great location + great service + great entertainment = an all around GREAT experience.

My only regret is that I didn’t buy one of these cool hats when I was there! Next time, for sure! 

I give Ellen’s a standing ovation! 

Desiree Sousa


Out & About Travel / Gay Travel Information

One Response to “Gay Travel Information: Ellen’s Stardust Diner – New York, NY”
  1. Beverly Wright says:

    Since December 7, 2012 I have been hostessing there at Ellen’s Stardust Diner. I am compelled to say thank you. This year is my first Gay Pride weekend with Ellen’s. The support at this diner for gays and lesbians is refreshingly unbelievable. I was so proud to have an opportunity to display, without judgements, my support for the gay and lesbian community.

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