When news broke Thursday that Cafe Edison—the simultaneously ornate and downscale Times Square diner that's served the theater community since 1980—was being evicted at the end of December, the public outcry was loud even by closing-Manhattan-institution standards.

Julie Klausner lamented in Grub Street that Cafe Edison's impending closure felt "like the final dagger in the Times Square Tourist Elmo Massacre," while Jeremiah Moss of Vanishing New York lamented, "Drop a bomb on Times Square. It's over."

As a more positive action, Moss organized the Cafe Edison Lunch Mob on Saturday. They urged people to support the "Polish Tea Room" by protesting, gathering signatures, flooding social media with #SaveCafeEdison, and most importantly, eating.

Outside, protesters spoke about the loss of a slice of old New York, an institution where everybody knows everyone's name (there were many comparisons to Cheers), and matzo ball puns. Inside, ravenous diners—thespians, regulars and newcomers alike—lined up for 10-15 minute waits to eat those matzo balls, as well as blintzes, pastrami, massive potato pancakes, matzo brei, and much more, many of them wearing #SaveCafeEdison stickers.

"It's one of the only places left with any ethnicity. It's not so much a part of New York history, it's what New York is, it's what New York represents: people, ethnic, a touch of jew-y, food, personality. The personality is being vacuumed out of the city." said actress Jackie Hoffman, a Second City Alum and original cast member of Hairspray, currently in On The Town.

"It's like they were feeding people in the Warsaw Ghetto or something, so they could survive on one dish for three weeks," said Hoffman about the matzo brei.

"If there's any chance at all that people getting together to show solidarity with the owner here can maybe save it, how can I not come?" said Barbara Nassberg. "I like the menu, I like the fact that they don't succumb to the latest fad in design and everything. I like the fact I've been here and I've seen Broadway actors here. I just like it, it's like a home away from home."

"I have been eating here for 11 years. I work for the man who was the producer of '45 Seconds from Broadway,' which was written about here. And one day I showed up in 2003 for a bowl of soup, and I have been coming back ever since," said Michal Salonia. "They're amazing, the owners won an honorary Tony."

Moss, who guards his anonymity closely, blogged about the Lunch Mob on Vanishing New York and his Facebook page, while encouraging others to do the same on the Save Cafe Edison Facebook page, and the related event page. As of early Sunday, a Change.org petition entitled "Save the Cafe Edison" is 175 signatures short of its 5,000 signature goal.

Cafe Edison was founded in 1980 by Harry and Frances Edelstein with their son-in-law Conrad Strohl. Harry's lease was based off a handshake agreement with Ulo Barad, then-owner of the neighboring Hotel Edison. Harry Edelstein died in 2009, while Ulo Barad died last year, passing ownership of the hotel to his son, Gerald. Conrad currently oversees day-to-day operations with his son, Jordan.

"[Ulo Barad] shook hands with my father, because they were both Holocaust survivors and they knew each other from Germany. And we kept saying 'give us another lease.' He said 'don't insult me, we did a handshake. Your family will always run this business. We will never throw you out,'" said Harriet Strohl, Conrad's wife and Harry and Frances' daughter. "But [Gerald Barad] doesn't want us here. He wants a fancy, white table cloth, name chef restaurant.

"And he promised us he wouldn't throw us out either. He said we were family, and don't worry," Harriet added.

Attempts to reach out to Hotel Edison's management were unsuccessful. According to the Times, a statement released by the hotel's general manager, Richard Hotter, confirms "the cafe is closing as the hotel prepares for a multimillion-dollar investment to upgrade and restore the space."

Despite the public outpouring of support, the Strohls haven't made a significant effort to formally challenge the eviction. According to Scott Edelstein, Harry and Frances' son, they've agreed to move out instead of pursuing litigation.

"As of about eight months ago, I've known about [the eviction]. I've been working very hard to find another space, and I'm continuously looking," explained Conrad. "Hopefully we'll find someplace, and be able to move it. We'll never have the same atmosphere or anything, but we've still got the food."

Additional reporting by Scott Heins.