EAST VILLAGE — Helen Mirren is no stranger to the stage — and on Friday she dropped by The Stage Restaurant to check her beloved eatery in the aftermath of the blast that destroyed three buildings on Second Avenue.
“I kind of knew it would be open,” Mirren, a regular at the Eastern European diner, which sits just across Second Avenue from the demolished buildings, told DNAinfo New York.
Mirren stopped in for a lunchtime borscht to go at the only restaurant open on the block where the blast took place.
Mirren said she wondered last night whether her go-to place would be open Friday.
“And the best thing about it is the delicious food for the men and women working here,” she said of the police and fire crews dispatched to the area. “I love this restaurant.”
On Friday, crews were still scouring the rubble in search of two people still missing after Thursday's explosion.
Roman Diakun, the Stage’s owner, opened up shop this morning despite the fact that the block was closed off with police barricades.
“I feel like working, you know?” he said. “I don’t want to stay home. If I can, I want to be open.”
Regulars as well as police and city staff packed the counter Friday for cabbage soup, challah toast and goulash.
“I’m so glad he’s open,” said neighbor Lola Saenz, who took bacon and eggs to go. “They have the best food in the world here.”