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Theater District Fixture Ellen’s Stardust Diner May Shutter Due to $600K in Unpaid Rent

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The diner could shut down in August if the debt is not paid

Two men walk their dogs in a flower bed as customers line up to enter the 1950s-themed Ellen’s Stardust Diner on Broadway in New York City’s Theater District.
Ellen’s Stardust Diner
Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

Iconic Theater District restaurant Ellen’s Stardust Diner — a tourist hotspot known for its roster of singing waitstaff — may be permanently shutting down in August, BroadwayWorld reports.

The restaurant owes $618,459.22 in unpaid rent on the property at West 51st Street, between 7th Avenue and Broadway, according to an official notice posted outside the diner. In the notice, the landlord of the premises warns that they will assume possession of the property if the rent is not paid by August 7.

The restaurant has not yet made any official announcement confirming whether it will close in August, according to the BroadwayWorld report. Eater has reached out to the restaurant for more information on the potential closure.

Rent concerns have been mounting for restaurateurs across the city as owners struggle to bring in enough revenue while dining operations are restricted to socially-distant outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery. This week, the Doughnut Plant closed all seven of its NYC locations again — after re-opening some spots in May and June to do takeout and delivery — due to not being able to manage operations while also paying escalating fixed costs including rent at the restaurants.

As operators have struggled to pay rent, New York previously instituted an eviction moratorium for tenants across the state that lasts until August 20. Eater has reached out to the governor’s office for more information on the moratorium and whether Ellen’s Stardust Diner’s landlord can assume possession of the property earlier in August.

Ellen’s Stardust Diner has been a Theater District fixture since 1987, serving up typical diner fare including all-day breakfast and blue plate specials from 7 a.m. to midnight on a daily basis. The restaurant has been shut down for the duration of the pandemic, with owners laying off over 200 staffers amid the crisis.

Ellen's Stardust Diner

1650 Broadway, New York, NY 10019