Ellen’s Stardust Diner has been a Theater District fixture since 1987, famous for its retro ’50s design, subway car entrance, and singing waitstaff. But like so many other restaurants in New York City, Ellen’s may never reopen due to the pandemic. As Broadway World first reported, a photo on Facebook shows a notice posted at the diner from the landlord that says Ellen’s owes $618,459.22 in back rent. If not paid by August 7, the restaurant could close for good.
When Ellen’s Stardust Diner was forced to close on March 16, they laid off their entire staff of more than 200. Shortly after, they launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise $50,000 for their employees. As of the time of publication, they’ve raised close to $28,000.
Located on the corner of West 51st Street and Broadway, Ellen’s has a massive, three-story space. In a 2014 story, Untapped New York wrote how the diner was often a stopping point on the way to Broadway for up-and-coming talent. “Several times a day, a large bucket is passed around for discretionary tips with a specific and dedicated use for one of three things: dance classes, singing lessons or acting classes for the waitstaff,” they wrote.
An employee of Ellen’s told NBC New York that she and her colleagues have not heard from their employer since April. Several outlets have reached out to Ellen’s for a comment but have not received a response. If the back rent is not paid by August 7, Ellen’s Stardust Diner will have to surrender possession to the landlord.
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Neighborhoods : Midtown