Looking for an entertaining dining experience in New York City? Restaurants where the waiters sing and perform are a unique option that combines delicious food with lively entertainment.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Some of the most popular singing waiter restaurants in NYC include Ellen’s Stardust Diner, Patsy’s Italian Restaurant, Orfeo, and Buca di Beppo.
In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about New York City restaurants with singing waiters. You’ll learn about the history of this dining concept, the most popular spots, what to expect during your meal, tips for getting a reservation, and which restaurants are best for families, special occasions, Broadway lovers, and more.
The Origin and History of Singing Waiter Restaurants
Have you ever been to a restaurant where waiters not only serve your food but also entertain you with their melodious voices? These unique establishments, known as singing waiter restaurants, have a fascinating history that dates back many decades.
Vaudeville theaters and the start of singing waiters
The concept of singing waiters can be traced back to the vaudeville theaters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Vaudeville shows were popular forms of entertainment that showcased a variety of acts including singing, dancing, comedy, and magic.
Many performers who worked in vaudeville theaters during this time were also employed as waiters in nearby restaurants.
These multi-talented individuals would often break into song or perform impromptu musical numbers while serving customers. This unique combination of food and entertainment quickly gained popularity and became a hit among theatergoers and diners alike.
Post-Prohibition boom and growth of the concept
The concept of singing waiters experienced a significant boom in the United States during the post-Prohibition era of the 1930s. As the country emerged from the restrictions of Prohibition, people were eager to socialize and enjoy themselves in new and exciting ways.
Restaurants seized this opportunity and began incorporating singing waiters into their establishments as a way to attract customers and create a lively and memorable dining experience. Patrons were not only treated to delicious food but also entertained by talented performers who would serenade them with popular songs of the time.
These singing waiter restaurants became hotspots for social gatherings, special occasions, and even date nights. They provided a unique and fun-filled atmosphere that set them apart from traditional dining establishments.
Continued popularity in modern times
Despite the passing of time, singing waiter restaurants have continued to captivate audiences and remain popular to this day. In fact, many establishments have put their own modern twist on the concept, incorporating a wide range of musical genres and styles to cater to diverse tastes.
Whether you’re a fan of Broadway show tunes, jazz standards, or even pop hits, there’s a singing waiter restaurant in New York that will surely satisfy your musical cravings. These talented waitstaff not only provide excellent service but also deliver captivating performances that leave customers in awe.
If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind dining experience that combines great food and live entertainment, be sure to check out some of the incredible singing waiter restaurants in New York. You’ll be treated to an unforgettable evening filled with delicious cuisine and the sweet sounds of talented performers.
The Top Singing Waiter Restaurants in New York City
Ellen’s Stardust Diner – Times Square
Ellen’s Stardust Diner is one of the most iconic singing waiter restaurants in New York City. Located in the heart of Times Square, this diner offers a unique experience where the waitstaff are not only talented servers but also professional singers.
As you enjoy your meal, you will be entertained by the staff’s impressive vocal performances, covering a wide range of musical genres. The lively atmosphere and the talented waiters will surely make your dining experience unforgettable.
Patsy’s Italian Restaurant – Midtown
If you are looking for a combination of delicious Italian cuisine and live entertainment, Patsy’s Italian Restaurant in Midtown is the place to be. This family-owned restaurant has been a staple of the New York City dining scene since 1944.
In addition to serving mouthwatering Italian dishes, Patsy’s is known for its singing waiters who serenade guests with classic Italian songs. The authentic atmosphere and the talented performers create a truly immersive dining experience.
Orfeo – Midtown
Orfeo, located in Midtown, offers a unique twist on the concept of singing waiters. Instead of traditional operatic performances, the waitstaff at Orfeo are trained in singing Broadway show tunes. As you indulge in their delectable Italian cuisine, you will be entertained by the waiters’ impressive vocal range and passionate renditions of popular Broadway hits.
This combination of good food and exceptional live entertainment makes Orfeo a must-visit restaurant for theater enthusiasts and food lovers alike.
Buca di Beppo – Midtown
Buca di Beppo is a well-known Italian restaurant chain with a location in Midtown. While it may not be as famous for its singing waiters as some other establishments, Buca di Beppo occasionally features talented staff members who showcase their vocal skills.
Keep an eye out for special events or occasions where you might get to experience the joy of dining to the sound of a singing waiter at this lively and family-friendly restaurant.
Jekyll & Hyde Club – Midtown
If you’re in the mood for a truly unique dining experience, look no further than Jekyll & Hyde Club in Midtown. This restaurant combines delicious American cuisine with an interactive theatrical performance.
The waitstaff, dressed in Victorian-era costumes, not only serve your meal but also entertain you with their singing and acting skills. Be prepared for surprise performances and spooky delights as you enjoy your meal in this one-of-a-kind establishment.
Ha! Comedy Club – Midtown
For those who prefer laughter with their meal, Ha! Comedy Club in Midtown offers a hilarious dining experience. The waiters at this comedy club are not only skilled in providing excellent service but also in delivering side-splitting stand-up comedy routines.
Enjoy a delicious meal while being entertained by some of the best comedians in the city. It’s a perfect spot for a fun night out with friends or a memorable date night.
Rao’s – East Harlem
While Rao’s in East Harlem may not have singing waiters, it deserves a mention on this list due to its rich history and celebrity clientele. This legendary Italian restaurant has been a popular dining destination since 1896.
Rao’s is known for its exclusivity, with only a limited number of tables available to the public. If you are lucky enough to secure a reservation, you will be treated to exceptional Italian cuisine and a dining experience that feels like stepping into a different era.
The River Cafe – Brooklyn
Located in the iconic Brooklyn waterfront, The River Cafe offers a romantic setting with stunning views of the Manhattan skyline. While the waitstaff at The River Cafe may not sing, the restaurant hosts regular live music performances that complement the elegant atmosphere perfectly.
Indulge in their gourmet cuisine while enjoying the soulful melodies of talented musicians. It’s an ideal spot for a special occasion or a memorable date night.
What to Expect During Your Meal at a Singing Restaurant
If you’re planning a night out in New York City and looking for a unique dining experience, a singing restaurant is a must-visit. These establishments combine delicious food with live musical performances, creating an unforgettable evening for all guests.
Here’s what you can expect during your meal at a singing restaurant:
Lively and entertaining waitstaff performances
At a singing restaurant, the waitstaff is not just there to take your order and deliver your food. They are also talented singers and performers who will entertain you throughout your meal. Get ready to be serenaded by waiters who have incredible vocal skills and a flair for showmanship.
Their lively performances will keep you entertained and add a unique touch to your dining experience.
Singers take requests and interact with customers
One of the highlights of dining at a singing restaurant is the opportunity to interact with the performers. Singers often take requests from customers, allowing you to choose your favorite songs to be performed live.
Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply want to hear a particular tune, don’t hesitate to ask the singers for your favorite songs. They love engaging with the audience and creating a personalized experience for each guest.
Fun, festive atmosphere
When you step into a singing restaurant, you’ll immediately feel the festive atmosphere. The combination of great food, live music, and enthusiastic performers creates an ambiance that is both fun and lively.
The entire restaurant is filled with energy and excitement, making it the perfect place to enjoy a night out with friends or a loved one. Prepare to be swept away by the joyful atmosphere as you dine and sing along to your favorite tunes.
Broadway-style singing and dancing
If you’re a fan of Broadway musicals, you’re in for a treat at a singing restaurant. Many of the performers are professionals with backgrounds in musical theater, and they bring that Broadway-style singing and dancing to the stage.
From powerful ballads to energetic dance numbers, you’ll be transported into the world of musical theater right at your table. It’s like having your very own mini Broadway show while enjoying a delicious meal.
Waiters sing pop hits, showtunes, jazz standards
At a singing restaurant, the repertoire of songs is diverse and appeals to a wide range of musical tastes. You can expect to hear a mix of pop hits, classic showtunes, and jazz standards. From iconic songs by Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald to contemporary hits by Beyoncé and Bruno Mars, the performers will delight you with their renditions of beloved songs.
No matter your musical preference, there will be something for everyone to enjoy.
So, if you’re looking for a dining experience that goes beyond the ordinary, be sure to visit one of New York City’s singing restaurants. With lively performances, interactive waitstaff, and a fun atmosphere, it’s an evening you won’t soon forget.
Tips for Getting a Reservation at Popular Singing Restaurants
Book well in advance – at least 2 weeks
If you want to experience the joy of dining at one of New York’s singing restaurants, it’s important to plan ahead. These establishments are often in high demand, so it’s recommended to book your reservation well in advance, at least 2 weeks prior to your desired date.
This will ensure that you secure a table and don’t miss out on the opportunity to enjoy the enchanting performances of the talented waitstaff.
Go during off-peak times: weekday lunches or early dinners
If you are looking to maximize your chances of getting a reservation at a popular singing restaurant, consider visiting during off-peak times. Weekday lunches or early dinners are typically less busy, making it easier to snag a table.
Not only will you have a higher chance of securing a reservation, but you might also enjoy a more intimate and relaxed dining experience.
Be flexible – ask about any availability
When it comes to securing a reservation at a singing restaurant, flexibility is key. If your preferred date and time are not available, don’t be afraid to ask about any other availability. Sometimes there might be cancellations or last-minute openings that you can take advantage of.
By being open to alternative options, you increase your chances of securing a table at one of these unique establishments.
Make reservations for 6-8 people if possible
Another tip to increase your chances of getting a reservation at a popular singing restaurant is to make a reservation for a larger party, ideally 6-8 people. These restaurants often have larger tables available for groups, and accommodating a larger party may give you an advantage over smaller groups or couples.
Plus, dining with a larger group can be a fun and memorable experience!
Sign up for email lists to get notifications of specials and last-minute tables
If you are serious about securing a reservation at a singing restaurant, it’s a good idea to sign up for their email lists. Many restaurants send out notifications of specials, promotions, and last-minute table openings to their subscribers.
By being on their email list, you’ll be among the first to know about any opportunities to snag a reservation. Keep an eye on your inbox and be ready to act quickly when a notification arrives!
Best Singing Restaurants for Families, Special Occasions, Broadway Lovers
Ellen’s Stardust Diner – best for families
If you’re looking for a fun-filled dining experience that the whole family can enjoy, look no further than Ellen’s Stardust Diner. Located in the heart of Times Square, this iconic restaurant is known for its talented waitstaff who double as Broadway performers.
As you and your family indulge in delicious American comfort food, you’ll be serenaded by waiters and waitresses belting out show tunes. It’s a truly magical experience that will leave everyone with a smile on their face and a song in their heart.
Orfeo – intimate and romantic, perfect for dates
If you’re looking for a romantic and enchanting dining experience, Orfeo is the perfect choice for a date night. Located in the heart of New York City, this cozy restaurant offers an intimate atmosphere and live opera performances by talented singers.
Imagine being serenaded by beautiful arias while enjoying a delicious Italian meal with your loved one. It’s a truly unforgettable experience that will make your date night extra special.
Buca di Beppo – best for large groups and celebrations
If you’re planning a gathering with a large group of friends or family, Buca di Beppo is the perfect choice. Known for its family-style Italian cuisine, this lively restaurant offers a festive atmosphere where celebrations are always welcome.
The waitstaff here not only serve delicious food but also entertain guests with their singing talents. It’s the perfect place to enjoy great food, good company, and a lively ambiance that will make your celebration truly memorable.
Patsy’s Italian Restaurant – old school Rat Pack vibe, great for occasions
If you’re a fan of the classic Rat Pack era and are looking for a restaurant with a nostalgic ambiance, Patsy’s Italian Restaurant is the place to be. This iconic eatery has been a favorite among celebrities and locals alike since 1944.
Not only does it serve mouthwatering Italian dishes, but it also offers a charming atmosphere reminiscent of the golden age of entertainment. The waitstaff here may not sing, but their impeccable service and the restaurant’s old-school vibe make it a perfect choice for special occasions.
Jekyll & Hyde Club – immersive theatrical experience for Broadway lovers
For those who can’t get enough of Broadway, the Jekyll & Hyde Club offers a unique dining experience that combines food, entertainment, and a touch of mystery. This immersive restaurant takes you on a journey through Dr. Jekyll’s laboratory and Mr. Hyde’s haunted mansion, complete with live performances, special effects, and interactive elements.
With talented actors and singers bringing the story to life, it’s a must-visit for all Broadway lovers looking for a dining experience like no other.
New York City’s singing waiter restaurants offer a uniquely entertaining dining experience that blends delicious food, talented performers, and non-stop musical numbers. With a range of options to suit different tastes, group sizes, and occasions, these restaurants are a great choice for visitors and locals alike looking for some added excitement with their meal.
So next time you’re looking for a fun night out in NYC, consider heading to one of these lively hotspots where the waiters don’t just serve the food – they serve up a side of sensational live entertainment as well!