How a Raunchy Lounge Singer Spends His Sundays

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For more than two decades, Dani Lubnitzki was the resident lounge singer and pianist at Sammy’s Roumanian Steakhouse on the Lower East Side, where bottles of vodka were served lodged in blocks of ice and the entertainment was as schmaltzy as the chopped liver.

“It’s like a disco with comedy,” said Mr. Lubnitzki, 67, who performs under the stage name Dani Luv.

The restaurant was a home for the musician, who delivered smutty insults to diners’ faces and performed renditions of “Hey Jude” (his version is called “Hey Jew”), “Dayenu” and the Hora six nights a week until the coronavirus pandemic brought indoor dining to halt.

“It was March 14, a Saturday night, we had 300 people on the book,” he said. “And we were left with 40. Somehow it was a fun night.”

The restaurant shuttered entirely in early 2021, forcing Mr. Lubnitzki to take his one-man show — garish and heavy on the shiksa jokes — on the road. He’s been hustling as a freelancer ever since. He held a residency at Edith’s in Williamsburg in 2022, but has mostly relied on one-off gigs: bar mitzvahs, birthdays and house parties.

Now, Sammy’s Roumanian is planning its return, this time at 112 Stanton Street, a few blocks from its previous location on Chrystie Street. The new restaurant will open on May 3, the owner, David Zimmerman, said. Mr. Lubnitzki will be back, too.

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