The Lucky Cheng’s Legend
After years as a notorious downtown institution, Lucky Cheng’s celebrated her 19th birthday by moving to 240 West 52nd Street. The heart of Times Square-Theatre District. The drag queen capital of the world, opened in October 1993 in NYC’s East Village to serving dinner, cabaret, comedy, and karaoke by fiercely funny and outlandishly attired drag queens. When Prince Albert of Monaco dined “a la drag” in February 1994, Lucky Cheng’s was catapulted into the international limelight. This drag queen dinner theater remains a staple for gossip columnists as it continues to attract celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, the Olsen Sisters, Ethan Hawke, Lady Gaga and others.
Lucky Cheng’s considered a New York institution, the Gray Line tour bus guides announce this boite as a must-see attraction on its downtown loop. Yes, this is the one you have seen on Snooki and JWoww, Ice T Loves Coco, Skinny Girl Bethenny Frankel, The Long Island Medium, 30 Rock, America’s Next Top Model, Access Hollywood, Growing Up Gotti, The People’s Court, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Sex in the City, The Howard Stern Show, The Jerry Springer Show, Sally [Jesse Raphael], Blind Date, Extra, E!, MTV, VH1, HBO, CNN, Bloomberg Television, all of the New York news channels including NY1, WABC-TV, WCBS-TV, WNBC, WPIX-TV, and WNYW Fox 5. Check out The New York Post Page Six scandal reports on Lucky Cheng’s below.
Celebrities Who Love Drag Queens: Tyra Banks, Prince Albert of Monaco, Ashley Olsen, Joe Frazier, Yoko Ono, Britney Spears, Richie Rich of Heatherete, Amanda LaPore, Richard Branson, Jimmy Fallon, Queen Latifa, Bernadette Peters, Elvira, Vivian Westwood, Donna Karen, Kelly Ripa, Victoria Gotti, Margeret Cho, Ed Bradley, Tina Brown, Peter Brant, Stephanie Seymour, Wendy the Snapple Lady, Robin Byrd, Candace Bushnell, Sarah Jessica Parker, Tina Louise, Veronica Webb, Boy George, Joan Rivers, Ted Danson, Patrick Swayze, John Leguizamo, Winona Rider, Matt Lauer, Bryant Gumbel, Stephen Baldwin, Dite Von Teese, Paulina Porizkova, Patrick McMullen, David LaChappelle, Wesley Snipes, Madonna, Ivana Trump, Gennifer Flowers, Lenny Kravitz, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Kenny Scharf, Matthew Barney, Bjork, Dominick Dunne, I Love New York, Michael Griffith, Paul Licalsi, Sy Presten, Kristy Hume, Eleanor Mondale, Quenton Crisp, Donovan Leatch, Ali Sheedy, Jerry Springer, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Michael Musto, Drea DeMateo, Johnny Knoxville, Dennis Rodman, Sylvia Miles, Stella, Lola, Jacqueline, and Vito Schnabel, Bill Kuntzler, Rene Ricard, Zac Posen, Don Ho, Monica Lewinski, Gennifer Flowers, Jack Wagner, Heather Locklear, Jose Eber, Oliver Stone, Kate Moss, Robin Givens, Ivanka Trump, Betsey Johnson, Cynthia Rowley, Angelica Torn, Mary McFadden; Debbie Harry, Mary Wilson, Ahn Duong, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Grace Jones, Elle McPherson, Connie Stevens, Ru Paul, Nicole Miller, The B-52’s, Ethan Hawk, Taylor Dayne, Thierry Mugler, Sally Jesse Raphael, Tommy Lee, Rip Taylor, Christy Turlingon, Irina Panteva, Sarah Michelle Geller, Betsy Johnson, Joan Chen, Ron Jeremy, Alana Starr, Jon Sedaca, Rosie O’Donnell, Ricki Lake, the Spice Girls, Bret Easton Ellis, Donny Bonaduce, Grace Jones, Tommy Tune, David Byrne, Debbie Boone, Robert Plant, Luther Vandross, Christy Turlington, No Doubt, Robert DiNiro, Kate Shaw, Shalom Harlow, Robin Leach, Beverly D’Angelo, Mary Steenburgen, Joanne Worley, Sandra Bernhard, Amy Irving, Amber Valletta, Kelsey Grammer, Tom Ford, Calvin Klein, Toni Braxton, Roseanne Barr, Cindy Shu, Ron Jeremy, Harvey Fierstein, Dee-Lite, and Matt Dillon.
“Ashley – It’s Not B.Y.O.B”.
DIVA-in-development Ashley Olsen and a passel of pals partied at Lucky Cheng’s on First Ave. and tried to bring their own booze. The mini mogul, in her trademark giant shades, pulled up in a limo with a half-dozen girlfriends at 3:30 a.m. one recent night after the joint had already closed its doors. The manager let them in and gave them the run of the Karaoke lounge, but he had to confiscate a bottle of Absolut vodka one girl was toting. Olsen tried to pull rank, but the manager informed her, “I do not know who you are, I am French. I don’t watch MTV. You need to take off your stupid sunglasses.” At one point, an Olsen pal pulled her dress up and flashed her panties, but they didn’t try to get more drinks. “By the sounds of it they didn’t need any more alcohol,” Cheng’s owner Hayne Suthon told PAGE SIX’s Jared Paul Stern. “It doesn’t sound like it really had anything to do with Ashley,” Olsen’s rep says.
THAT wasn’t a female impersonator ripping off men’s clothes at Lucky Cheng’s the other night – it really was Britney Spears. The pop princess jumped onstage during drag queen Princess Diandra’s “boxers or briefs?” contest, in which her tour manager was competing, and stripped off the clothes of all three men on stage. “Isn’t this one of the best female impersonators you’ve ever seen?” cracked emcee Diandra. “She looks just like Britney Spears!” But one of the lucky guys had a girlfriend in the audience who didn’t think it was funny. She tried to jump onstage when Spears was exposing her man but was shooed away by security.
ETHAN Hawke (above) is cutting a lonely figure this holiday season after cheating on and losing Uma Thurman. Hawke’s only pal these days is his dog. Last week he dined at Lucky Cheng’s and took his leftovers home for the pooch. Another spy spotted Hawke taking his pet for a walk down Eighth Avenue in Chelsea the other day, talking to an unidentified man about his “really painful breakup.” Meanwhile, spies on his upcoming movie “Billy Dead” tell us he’s feeling so low that he’s not returning phone calls and seems preoccupied. LUCKY Cheng’s, Hayne Suthon’s gender-bending hotspot, celebrated a decade of drag queens and dumplings Tuesday night. Club kid-cum- Heatherette founder Richie Rich hosted a pansexual crowd that included Johnny Knoxville, Drea de Matteo, Charlotte Ronson, Patrick McMullan, self-proclaimed dandy Patrick McDonald, and ubiquitous Amanda Lepore, who popped out of a cake and into an impromptu striptease. “The cake’s too much but she’s not,” quipped Miss Understood, one of the restaurant’s resident drag queens. The edible version bore the inscription, “To Another Ten Years of Beauty – Thanks to Plastic Surgery.”
The Post visited Lucky Cheng’s last night and did its own Zagat- style review.Lucky Cheng’s is so much fun, most of the customers said the food was almost an afterthought.”I’ve had worse food, I’ve had better food,” said Andrew, 29, a repeat customer of the cross-bending bistro. “You come here for the entertainment.”Robin Mercado, who brought her daughter, said it’s more about the fun atmosphere and eye candy.”The food’s OK, it’s not bad,” the Brooklyn resident said.”It’s a lot of fun, though. You have to go in with a certain attitude. It’s not for everybody.”And more conservative diners might want to consider ordering takeout.”My husband would never come here,” admitted 29-year-old Jennifer Nassar.But she loves it – last night was her third visit. She thought the crackling duck confit is worth coming back for. “I love this place,” she said. “It’s hilarious, it’s fun. You have to go.”
DRAG queen-themed restaurant Lucky Cheng’s is accusing Gray Line tours of anti-transvestite discrimination. Owner Hayne Suthon tells us the popular tourist bus line refused to allow Lucky Cheng’s to use the word “drag” or “queen” in an ad Suthon bought in the maps handed out to Gray Line passengers. “It’s just ridiculous, especially with the success of ‘Hairspray’ at the Tonys,” Suthon sniffs. “We had to list it as a comedy, karaoke and cabaret. I can’t imagine anyone being offended, but GrayLine said it wasn’t appropriate. But what about those poor unsuspecting people who see ‘comedy cabaret’ and show up and see all these drag queens?” Incidentally, we’re told that on the Gray Line tour through St. Marks Place, tour guides often mention Lucky Cheng’s as the area’s most famous drag queen-staffed eatery. Gray Line reps could not be reached.
“Spray Paint and Drag Queens”
Tina Brown, trawling for material for her London Sunday Times column, got more than she bargained for at Lucky Cheng’s on Monday night. The party was for former graffiti artist Kenny Scharf and the launch of his animated show, “The Groovenians,” on the Cartoon Network, so Scharf had spray-painted the walls of the restaurant, which features cross-dressing waitresses. Polo-playing art collector Peter Brant and his supermodel wife, Stephanie Seymour, hosted for such guests as Lenny Kravitz (with his daughter Zoe), Patrick McMullan (with son Liam), Nicole Miller (with son Palmer) and Andre Balazs and Katie Ford (with daughter Alessandra). According to Scharf, “The Groovenians” involves two frustrated artists – is there any other kind? – living on an oppressive planet called Jeepers. Glindy (voiced by Dreena DeNiro) and Jet (Paul Reubens) dream of escaping to the planet Groovenia, where artists are free to indulge their passions. Scharf, who lives now in California and is staying at Lenny Kravitz’s loft, called the restaurant after midnight to get his cans of spray paint. Seems Lenny wanted one of his walls done, but the paint had been thrown out.
“MELROSE Place” pals Jack Wagner and Heather Locklear had a great time last weekend. The two showed up at Serena’s and enjoyed a seductive fan-dance performed just for them. Later, they popped into Lucky Cheng’s where Locklear insisted Wagner show some of her pals his tongue. “He really knows how to use it, too,” Locklear added.
SOME unruly transgender staffers nearly upstaged Ally Sheedy at her Chanukah party at Lucky Cheng’s the other night. The “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” star was about to sing for her guests but some waiters were chatting among themselves. “Can’t you bitches be quiet?” asked Sheedy. They settled down momentarily, then began screaming for one of Sheedy’s fellow brat-packers. “You want Molly Ringwald?” said Sheedy. “Bleep you!”
“Photog drags his party elsewhere”
BAD boy photographer David LaChappelle is taking a few steps back from the cutting edge. LaChappelle – famous for his hyper-sexualized shots of women, men and everything in between – moved tonight’s celebration of his Tony Shafrazi Gallery exhibition from gender- bending restaurant Lucky Cheng’s to Bowery Bar because of an overzealous transvestite, according to a source. The photog was dining at Lucky Cheng with Stephen Baldwin when their cross-dressing waitress, Cody Ravioli, hopped into Baldwin’s lap and stayed there. Stephen wasn’t the least bit upset, says a witness: “He was laughing the whole time and saying, ‘Can I go s– the waitress now?’” But LaChappelle was “quietly put off” and began fretting about how such a scene might affect some of his tonier friends’ sensibilities. Our spy says LaChappelle moaned, “What if one of my important guests like Graydon Carter or Tina Brown have drag queens jumping all over their laps?” The next day, LaChappelle relocated the soiree to the garden at Bowery Bar. “His decision had nothing to do with Lucky Cheng’s. He loves the owner,” says LaChappelle’s publicist, explaining that his client simply didn’t want to miss Bowery’s Tuesday night “Beige” party. “Plus, he liked the idea of eating outside.”
NIGHTCRAWLER: TRUMP & TRANNIES, WHAT A DRAG
IT’S highly doubtful that Ivana Trump knew exactly what she was in for by agreeing to host an AIDS benefit at the Lower East Side drag queen eatery Lucky Cheng’s. While the attraction of Ivana for drag queens as a sort of over-the-top aesthetic role model is obvious, their appeal for her seems dubious at best. Most likely she saw it as an opportunity to promote her new magazine, Ivana Style, which showcases the so-called taste of this Eastern Bloc Imelda Marcos in the Martha Stewart mode. The current issue of Ivana Style was on every table at Lucky Cheng’s on Monday night, alongside the in-house ‘Dragazine.” It was a toss-up as to which one was scarier, but suffice to say the combined effect was as no appetite suppressant yet invented.Just then the emcee, a drag queen called Miss Understood, got up to grate on our nerves. She introduced a couple of others, Baby Jane Doe, a ‘dairy queen” from Wisconsin, and Hedda Lettuce. The first mocked Ivana’s accent, chiding, ‘I can’t understand a f- – -ing word you say,” and the second fondled her boyfriend, Ferrari dealer Count Roffredo Gaetani, and praised his ‘luscious nipples.” Then Miss Understood came back on stage and asked Ivana if she’d gotten her dress at Kmart. By this time Ivana wassurely wondering why she was being abused instead of lauded as the shiny celebrity hostess that everyone loves. When she probably thought the worst was over, Robin Leach took the stage to auction a chapeau, offering that ‘For $300 you can have this hat; for $500, you can have this hat and [oral sex] in the bathroom.”
THEY’RE still talking about the party photographer Patrick McMullan threw on St. Patrick’s Day at Lucky Cheng’s – the East Village boite where the Asian waitress/performers are certifiably gorgeous but not certifiably female. Chowing down on the chow mein were designers Betsey Johnson, Cynthia Rowley and Mary McFadden; singers Debbie Harry and Mary Wilson; actresses Tina Louise and Ahn Duong; uniformed fireman Terry Quinn; decorator Jeffrey Bradfield; and Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, who shot “that woman”for her book cover and describes Monica as “Mae West reincarnated.”
PARTY’S NO DRAG FOR IVANA; [All Editions]
IF you tried to formulate a New York 400 (a la Mrs. Astor) today, you’d really be scratching. “Society” seems to know no boundaries, as demonstrated by the birthday bash Village Voice columnist Michael Musto threw himself the other evening. Musto, as funny as he is outrageous, chose the gender-bending Lucky Cheng’s for this year’s fete. TV schlockster Jerry Springer was the designated host and Ivana Trump was the stellar guest, along with Eleanor Mondale, Robin Leach, dear old queen Quentin Crisp, author Rona Jaffe and dragsters Lypsinka, Lady Bunny and Miss Understood.
Ivana had such a good time that she doffed her made-for-TV jewelry and gave it to an admiring guest. She and the cross-dressing waitresses really bonded, and the former Mrs. Trump says she’ll have her birthday party in February at Cheng’s. We’re surely not in Kansas.
IT’S bound to be a night of mayhem on Wednesday when Jerry Springer presides as ringmaster at the Lucky Cheng’s birthday bash for Village Voice columnist Michael Musto. Previous guest hosts have included Brooke Shields, John Wayne Bobbitt, and Divine Brown. This year’s invite says, “Jerry, please help me! I’m a young lady trapped inside supposedly male gossip columnist Michael Musto’s body!” The party will undoubtedly make Springer’s chaotic TV freak-fest look tame in comparison. And the eatery’s gender-bending troupe of transvestite “waitresses” plan to parody Jerry’s show with a skit in which they rip each others’ wigs off.