Lucky Chengs’ Sunday brunch experience at Secret Room NYC is a dragtastic and delicious kiki. [Cover photo: Svetlana Stoli by Thotyssey.]
Drag brunch truly brings the people together: it’s the only time of the week that Bachelorette Beckys and Bitchfaced Gays can unite under one roof to devour carbs and bottomless mimosas, throw dollars at drag queens and just be loud and basic as fuck. I can’t recall an actual bad time I’ve ever had at a drag brunch (although bottomless mimosas tend to keep one from recalling things), but certain elements like food quality, pricing and table service could maybe lessen the perfection of the day.
None of this bad stuff can be found at the Lucky Chengs-sponsored Crazy Boozy Brunch. The fairly new edition to NYC’s already swollen drag brunch market has been so popular, in fact, that the drag dining venue’s current homebase at Stage 48 (where Chengs still serves evening drag dining on weekends) quickly proved too small to accommodate the crowds. Now the Sunday brunch is outsourced to the Secret Room NYC in Hell’s Kitchen (a hip and lush basement space with an inconspicuous street entrance, so literally a secret room), and I’ve heard that the venue will soon be doing drag dinners and Saturday brunch shows there as well.
Crazy Boozy Brunch’s showrunner, NYC’s favorite Russian Doll Svetlana Stoli, is no newbie to this circuit. She once hosted a solo three hour brunch show at the now-defunct Boots & Saddle Drag Lounge, and went on to work the door for the uber-popular Voss Events Drag Brunch in its several venues of the past few years (technically this remains the world’s only actual drag brunch since Brandon Voss copyrighted the term, but let’s not digress into that nonsensical quagmire). She knows what works and what doesn’t, keeps things moving both on and offstage, maintains a lively and fun tone, and incorporates lots of audience participation, which is key to any successful session of daydrinking. Joined by a weekly cast of performing queens that includes the delightful Catrina Lovelace (it was her first day on the job when I was there), legendary Mother Gretchen (a 25-year Chengs veteran), costumed marvel Giocanda (she lights up), the astoundingly athletic Jax (she slayed, we gagged) and usually a special guest queen (we were fortunate to have the hilarious Juicy Liu). As per the standard business model of Chengs and other drag dining venues like Lips and Hamburger Mary’s, the house queens not onstage at that moment are greeting guests at the door and seating them, or taking their food orders.
The show was hilarious, lowbrow and naughty fun (if you bring your kids to this one, they will watch diners race to gobble up dick-shaped cookies onstage and see Svetlana dressed as Jesus miming a blowjob). The food was tasty–I had the traditional brunch menu staple Eggs Benedict cuz I’m that bitch, but many folks in my party got the Chinese chicken salad and enjoyed it–and the bottomless mimosas kept coming at a quick enough rate for our drunk asses. With a $10 cover and a $35 food and bottomless beverage package per person, it ain’t gonna break the bank either (and if mimosas aren’t your thing, cocktails are $10).
NYC’s favorite hot mess queen Ari Kiki is gonna be there this weekend. Gurl, I’m making a another reservation… and this time I’ll try that chicken salad. I’ll see you there!
Click here to reserve a seat or table for Crazy Boozy Brunch, Sundays at Secret Room NYC.