Ellen's Stardust Diner, the classic Midtown eatery that has served up live Broadway-worthy entertainment with its burgers and shakes, has apparently become the latest New York City spot to finds its business in danger because of the pandemic. The establishment regularly drew long lines, and relied mostly on tourists.
This week, a sign was posted to the window of the diner, located at 1650 Broadway near 51st Street, stating that it owes $618,459.22 in back rent to its landlord. It states that if it is not paid by August 7th, they have to "surrender possession" of the premise. You can see the sign below.
We've contacted Ellen's Stardust for comment, and will update when we hear back. An inquiry sent to the property's landlord went unanswered.
The diner, which first opened in 1987, has been closed since the start of the pandemic. One of the 200+ diner employees told NBC that she last heard from the diner management in April, when they informed her that the closure would go on longer than initially expected. She said she hasn't heard anything else since then.
"We don’t want want to speculate on what that means. We hope it will come back as soon as possible," server Kevin Ray also told NBC.
A GoFundMe was started in April, with over $26K raised for employees.
Here is a video of the diner from March 2nd, shortly before it closed.
In 2017, Gothamist visited the diner, describing the experience as controlled chaos. "In between taking orders and delivering milkshakes, servers belt out a constant stream of Broadway classics and pop hits. They strut atop glittering red banquettes and lob straws like confetti in all directions. And over generous plates of burgers and fries, Stardust’s customers beam and cheer, as the lines outside continues to grow."
The pandemic has been disastrous for restaurants around the city, with countless establishments being forced to close for good in recent months. And according to one recent survey, almost half the restaurants in America have had to close temporarily or permanently because of the virus. Plans to allow indoor dining to return during phase 3 or 4 have been postponed indefinitely as socializing inside restaurants and bars appears to be linked to some of the recent outbreaks happening around the country.