You’re going to see Rock of Ages at the Helen Hayes Theater and you need to know where to eat dinner beforehand? No problem! We’ve got just the right pre-theater restaurant for those going to see Broadway’s homage to all things 80s.
The Show: Reagan-era rock and roll drives the soundtrack of this jukebox musical, set in 1987. The story revolves around a Hollywood music club, where aspiring musician Drew meets waitress Sherrie, who subsequently falls for a big name rocker when he rolls into town. But the audience isn’t there for the plot; they are there to sing along — and drink along — to 80s favorites, from Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
The Restaurant: At one point in the show, Drew gives up on his career to deliver pizza. And if you think pizza is big now, it was even bigger in the 80s. Remember the Julia Roberts flick Mystic Pizza (1988)? Or how about when Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn) famously ordered a pizza into the classroom in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)? John’s Pizzeria, just a few doors down from the theater, will bring back those good old days. Originally founded in Greenwich Village in 1929, this Theater District branch of the coal-oven classic is set in a former church, complete with stained glass cupola. With 400 seats, it claims to be the largest pizzeria in the country.
What to Eat: Ummm … pizza. You can’t go wrong with a traditional pie ($14.25/$16.50), though you can gussy it up with more than two dozen toppings. The calzone ($18) has also won fervent loyalists throughout the years. Pasta and Italian entrees are available, too.
What Else to Know: No slices here! Pizzas are served only by the pie. Reservations not required and casual attire is completely acceptable — no one will look twice at mullets, metal hair, Day-Glo and spandex.