The curtain has yet to rise on the main stage, but Stars Theatre Restaurant is back with dinner service starting Friday.

Alex Neal, Stars operation manager, said offering dinner is a way to get back to business even in a limited capacity.

He said, "This is another avenue to get our doors open, let people in to see the theater. See if the public would support us in this way."

Stars will serve dinner Friday and Saturday night from 6 to 8 p.m. with dine-in and takeout options.

For the opening weekend, there are three options: charbroiled tri-tip or chicken, served with a baked potato and fresh steamed vegetables, or spaghetti with marinara sauce, also served with vegetables. Prices are $25 for the tri-tip, $20 for chicken or spaghetti. 

This weekend's dinners must be ordered 24 hours in advance by calling the box office, open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, at 325-6100 or online at bmtstars.com/restaurant.

A reduced number of tables will be spaced out at least 6 feet apart throughout the theater for safe dining.

Desserts will also be available to order during dinner service. Soft drinks will be available as well as full bar service in the lounge.

After this weekend and depending on demand, the menu will expand, with more casual offerings from the Stars Lounge nighttime menu including the Stars burger, chicken Caesar salad and fish and chips, which Neal said is one of the most popular items.

Guests will also be able to sit and order at the table in the coming weeks.

While closed, Stars has also addressed maintenance and renovation tasks and  did a deep cleaning. Wait staff, which can now return to work, is excited to visit with their regular guests, Neal said.

"Many of our season ticket holders are more like family," he said. "They know them by name, help them celebrate special moments."

In terms of productions, Stars, like other community theaters and entertainment venues, still awaits the green light to reopen.

Neal said they're now being told they'll have to wait until the third phase of the governor’s four-stage reopening plan to resume productions.

Yet he remains hopeful and following the headlines: "I spend a lot of my time watching the news and listening to podcasts and reading newspapers."

For now, rehearsals are on hold for the downtown theater and the smaller Stars Playhouse in Rosedale until performers can safely gather in person.

Summer youth workshops have been canceled for now, but depending on the timeline for reopening (and when students return to school), there may be a chance to reschedule for late summer.

Safety remains the top concern for Stars, Neal said.

"We want all our patrons to be safe and healthy and all our actors to be safe and healthy."

For now, though, guests can enjoy some familiarity in returning to the Chester Avenue theater.

Neal said, "We want to let people into the space to feel a little bit of that magic, even if our stages are dark at the moment."

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.

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