Carl's Jr. Marks NYC Opening with Off-Broadway Play

The West Coast chain has arrived in Midtown Manhattan.

By Ethan L. Johns
January 31, 2018

Image: Ethan Johns

What does a West Coast fast food chain do when it’s got a big dream? Well, it goes to New York City and tries to make it big on Broadway, of course!

Well, almost on Broadway.

On Tuesday night, burger purveyor Carl’s Jr. celebrated the coming opening of its first restaurant in Manhattan by staging an off-Broadway play starring the brand’s iconic mascot, Happy Star.

The surprisingly charming show, titled “Written in the Stars,” was centered around Happy Star’s quest to make it as an actor in New York City. After flubbing one too many auditions, Happy Star decides to open his very own burger restaurant. We would have said “spoiler alert,” but you’ll never actually get to see the play; so really, we’re just doing you a favor. It featured cameos from Lone Star, All Star (hey, now) and a wacky, burger-flipping French chef.

According to the company, the production was “the first-ever off-Broadway play by a quick service restaurant brand.”

Following the production, members of the media were invited to preview the two-story restaurant in Midtown Manhattan, and its newest food offerings. On the menu? Limited-edition charbroiled sliders, grandma-style breakfast biscuits (“baked every 15 minutes”), brand-new, hand-scooped Jolly Rancher milkshakes (emphasis on the “hand-scooped”), Western Bacon Cheeseburgers and buttermilk-battered, fried chicken tenders.

“New York is the culinary capital of America, and, I guess—if you’re from New York—the world,” said CEO Jason Marker, facetiously, as the crowd nibbled sliders from yellow cardboard boxes. “It’s where you test yourself, to see how good you really are. We’ve got very special food and we believe we can redefine what fast food is in New York City. Fighting words.”

Marker explained that Carl’s Jr. parent CKE Restaurants has “huge plans” for the Northeast, so if you don’t live near Midtown Manhattan or Coney Island—where the brand opened a restaurant earlier this month—don’t dismay. You might just be seeing the West Coast cool of Carl’s Jr. coming to you soon.

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Correction: The headline and body have been updated. The Midtown Carl's Jr. is the first in Manhattan. The first in New York City opened earlier this month on Coney Island.

About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns