Lucky Cheng’s Moving Up - to Times Square
NEW YORK, NY - Lucky Cheng's, the infamous drag cabaret restaurant which has enjoyed enormous popularity and press over the past 20 years, is moving to the Times Square area to avail itself of a broader audience of tourists and theater goers. This move will take place during the 3rd week of September 2012.
Lucky Cheng's opened in 1993 in New York City's East Village as the first restaurant in the world operating with drag queen servers, bartenders, and performers. When Prince Albert of Monaco dined "a la drag" in February 1994, Lucky Cheng's was catapulted into the international limelight. Considered a New York institution, the Grey Line tour bus guides announce the boite as a must-see attraction on its downtown loop. That announcement will soon change to "Lucky Cheng's has moved on up!"
The dramatic new location, 240 West 52nd Street, between Broadway and 8th Ave, will be easy to locate with its enormous exterior pink pumps. It will feature 20-foot ceilings, professional lighting and staging, a mezzanine level, and a lounge/private dining room on the 3rd floor.
The long 2nd floor window will reveal mannequins dressed to the nines by the drag queens to rival the Macy's window during the holiday season. Next door lies the Neil Simon Theater and across the street the very popular long running Jersey Boys.
Michael Byrnes, brought on board for interior and exterior design, has created for theater, opera, music videos, live events, restaurants, nightclubs, and film. His credits include stage designs for Michael Jackson, Katy Perry and Phil Collins.
Here are his 3-Act "recipes" for the interior décor:
Act I: The Bar: Two jiggers of "China Town", one jigger of "I Dream of Jeannie", sugar the rim, add tassels to the stem and smack the glass with a velvet rag.
Act II: The Great Hall: Two jiggers of Shangrai La, One jigger 1920's movie palace, remove the screen and smoke the remains. Behold the stage and ponder how it's escaped the loving arms of the giant wisteria that is snacking on the balcony.
Act III: The Mezzanine Level: Shhhhh,....
Richard Krause, celebrated chef since the 1980's, promises to deliver a spectacular 3-course dinner to each show attendee. Raised in California, Krause spent his formative years in the kitchen of L.A. hotspot Roy's. Three years later, he began cooking for Wolfgang Puck at Ma Maison, an association that would last seven years.
Krause took a year off to apprentice at two- and three-star restaurants in France, including Baumanière, Laurent, and Gérard Besson. He returned to the United States and to a sous-chef position at Spago, then helped develop the menu and design the kitchen for Chinois on Main. After moving to New York, he spent H at Batons, Melrose, the Rose Café, and the Silverado Bar & Grill, where he met Dennis Riese, a Silverado regular who happened to be in the restaurant business.
The men joined forces to create Martini's, on 53nd St and 7th Ave, pleasing theater goers, business people and neighbors for years. Martini's closed a few years ago, but Krause is back to 'wow' the same crowd. Some of the dishes include Filet Mignon Tower of Babylon with oyster sauce, wasabi mashed potatoes, and five spice onion rings; Ginger Lemongrass Steamed Whole Flounder with ponzu bok choy and shiitake mushroom jus; Simmered Japanese Eggplant with sticky rice and sweet sake; and Twice Cooked Chinese Black Bean Spare Ribs with garlic soup and dancing girls.
An on and off premise events and catering division, Bites and Pieces Catering, will be simultaneously launched by Chef Krause. Bites and Pieces will offer a wider range of fare to accommodate themed parties with entertainment, office luncheons, casual picnics, and high-end corporate events and weddings. BitesAndPiecesCatering.com.
Les girls of the Lucky Cheng's family are very busy creating costumes, headpieces, curtains, wall hangings, working on group and solo numbers, collaborating with songwriters, and training in aerial acts to dazzle even the most blasé audiences.
A reality show pilot following the move for the first epsode is in the works with NBC's affiliate Peacock Productions. Lucky Cheng's, no stranger to television, has been featured on Long Island Medium, Bethany Ever After, Snooki and JWOWW, 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.