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December 7, 2023
BROADWAY EATS with Robert Bannon

The theatrical jack-of-all-trades picks his fave food spots in the Theatre District ahead of a fun and festive evening of entertainment at Chelsea Table + Stage.

Though we understand their circumstances may have been a bit different, like Oliver and his clan of orphan boys, we’ve all fallen into a daze dreaming of “food, glorious food” at one point or another.

After all, it’s been said that food is the great equalizer, connecting us and bringing us together, either with family or friends, colleagues or companions, or any others from all walks of life, to dine often at a communal table or gathering space wherein we share stories and reveal the most authentic parts of ourselves.

In our continued effort, however, to find our way into others’ hearts (and stomachs!), sometimes it helps to venture beyond our tables and into the kitchens of others — especially in a city with such a diversified abundance of eateries as New York.

And of course, you can’t spell “theatre” without “eat.”

So, in this new series, we’ve polled some of the Great Bright Way’s best to “dish” (get it?) on where they love to eat, drink, and take in the vibes either pre- or post-show, while also answering why they love to sup there, sharing a favorite dish or two, and more.

Photo Credit: Michael Hull

We continue our series with consummate cabaret entertainer Robert Bannon, who debuts a fa-la-la-la-fabulous evening of Christmas standards at Chelsea Table + Stage on December 9. Replete with special guests, mashups and medleys, an unveiling of his new holiday single, and the possibility of a few more seasonal surprises, it’s exactly the holly jolly extravaganza you need to instill you with glee and good cheer.

A multifaceted artist of theatre and cabaret, Bannon has performed on the stages of Birdland, 54 Below, and the Green Room 42; his debut album, “Unfinished Business,” based on his inaugural one-man show, was released in 2021 and is now streaming on all platforms. His sophomore effort, “Rewind” – also now streaming on all platforms – was recorded live during his last stint at the Green Room 42.

In addition to his stage work, Bannon has also appeared on SNL and The Real Housewives of New Jersey. His acclaimed podcast, “The Roundtable with Robert Bannon,” originated amid the pandemic and, featuring exclusive interviews with the best of Broadway, film, and music, boasts over one million views on YouTube to date.

So, where does this primed performer like to eat?


Mastro’s Steakhouse

(1285 6th Avenue)

“If it’s a special night out and you want to splurge, nothing tops Mastro’s!” Bannon exclaims.

Hailed as one of the top 10 steakhouses in the US, the first-class franchise first opened in Scottsdale, AZ in 1999. Following an acquisition by famed dining and hospitality corporation Landry’s Inc., the company has since expanded to locations in California, Florida, Massachusetts, and Texas, among others; their Sixth Avenue locale launched in 2014.

“They have impeccable service, amazing cocktails, and a live band every night,” details Bannon, the latter a regular practice featured since its New York inception.

The classic menu boasts a variety of chops and wet-aged steaks (Says Bannon: “You can’t go wrong with a hearty salad and a porterhouse,” available as a 24-oz. or a double-cut 48-oz. for two), as well as an ample selection of seafood and sushi. Other non-steak options include an herb roasted chicken and a top-notch rack of lamb. Pair with sides like broccolini, mac-and-cheese, garlic mash, or a specialty crab fried rice.

Photos courtesy of Mastro’s Steakhouse

But Bannon’s favorite of their offerings? “Butter cake all the way,” he replies, without hesitation. Layered with a sweet cream cheese frosting, the delicious delicacy – a staple of the franchise – is lightly bruléed with sugar and served upside down alongside fresh fruit and a generous scoop of ice cream. Additional desserts (all house-made) include a Chocolate Sin cake, a pecan pie, a house cheesecake, and a selection of gelato and sorbet.

Plus, in terms of ambience, “it’s only one block away from Radio City and the Rockefeller tree,” says Bannon, so if you reserve a table early enough, you can make a whole night of it, and celebrate the holidays to the nines!

And should you wish to elevate your festivities even further, they’re open on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Though it may lean toward the more luxurious – an upscale dress code is strictly enforced – for a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience, it’s sure to make your spirits bright.

Mastro’s Steakhouse is open Sunday 4:30-10pm, M-Th from 12-10pm, F from 12:00-11:00pm, and Saturday from 4:30-11pm; holiday hours may affect this schedule.


(355 W. 46th Street)

“I grew up watching Lidia on PBS,” Bannon poeticizes, “and to taste her food is heaven.”

Lidia, of course, refers to Lidia Bastianich, the celebrated Italian television chef, who, along with her son, Joe, opened Becco in 1993. For the last 20 years, neither the food quality nor the exceptional service has wavered, cementing the restaurant as a staple of Italian cuisine in the heart of the Theatre District.

Its central location makes it “perfect for a gathering with a group” or, for the intrepid theatergoer, a brief breather on a two-show day, in between a matinée and evening performance.

Photo courtesy of Becco

Executive Chef William Gallagher touts a broad and innovate menu alongside an equally extensive wine selection (though Bannon admittedly prefers a Diet Coke).

However, much like any other of Becco’s longstanding patrons, the actor endorses the Sinfonia Di Paste, or “pasta symphony,” which boasts unlimited table-side delivery of a daily-rotating three-pasta preparation, so no meal is ever the same! (“Take that, Olive Garden!” Bannon says with a laugh).

For those feeling less adventurous, Becco also features the standard stuff, including a sautéed chicken breast with lemon, olives, and caper berries; a pan-seared salmon with roasted Brussels sprouts and EVOO, and a pork-and-veal-stuffed Cubanelle pepper lightly braised in a homemade tomato sauce.

All dishes come with a classic Caesar salad, served as a separate introductory course; the Sinfonia includes the option of an Antipasto Misto.

“Becco is fantastic, and never disappoints,” Bannon concludes. Though, given the prestige of the establishment, he warns you to make a reservation in advance… “if, of course, you can even get one!”

Becco is open for dinner Tues-Sun, and lunch on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday; see website for exact hours. 

We’ll continue to present a new performer with a new restaurant and a new menu, so keep checking back to see who we poll and what’s on their mind at mealtime! Until next time, as always, bon appétit!

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Written by: Matt Smith
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