Jessica Shaw
March 08, 1996 AT 05:00 AM EST

Other than Ed, David Letterman could be the only person you won’t see at Sullivan’s Restaurant and Broadcast Lounge, a $1.75 million homage to the late posture-challenged emcee opening next door to the Late Show on March 25. Eager to capitalize on 53rd Street’s status as the Letterman tourist mecca, CBS has leased the former home of McGee Pub to restaurateur Earl Geer (Hi-Life Bar & Grill), who is cooking up a swank, ’50s-style cocktail lounge. Thus far, the increasingly curmudgeonly Letterman has not indicated whether he’ll visit the eatery next door for all the steak and Cantonese food he can eat, but consultant Paul Shaffer and co-owner Denis Leary are lending their names to the joint. With or without an endorsement from Dave, can Sullivan’s compete with theme restaurants like Planet Hollywood or such 53rd Street staples as the CBS Store (Harry Smith jackets, anyone?), Rupert Jee’s Hello Deli, and Mujibur and Sirajul working the counter at Rock America? Leary thinks he knows how to lure people in. ”I’m going to have a popemobile golf cart carrying me through the restaurant,” he jokes. ”And I think Bruce, Arnold, and Sly will be coming here to get away from all the noise over there at their place.”

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