By Joe Marusak and Kathleen Purvis, The Charlotte Observer
In what the organizers are calling “our coming-out story,” the South End club Boulevard 1820 is changing into a drag queen-themed restaurant starting Aug. 22, with servers and performers in drag.
While similar restaurant concepts exist in New York, Atlanta, Orlando and other cities, including the national chain Hamburger Mary’s and the Atlanta restaurant Lips, Boulevard 1820 will be the first of its kind in Charlotte, according to Kolby Brinkley, an owner of the new restaurant at 1820 South Blvd., downstairs from Tupelo Honey.
“Now Charlotte can officially be called the ‘Queen City,’ with an eclectic dining and entertainment experience showcasing over-the-top drag queens and good food,” Brinkley said in announcing the new drag restaurant and lounge. “Whether you’re straight, gay or whoever, the new Boulevard 1820 will be that place you must go for something quirky and fun.”
The opening will be part of a week-long party leading up to Charlotte Pride, the city’s annual gay pride festival scheduled for Aug. 26-27 in uptown, Brinkley said. View the schedule online at Boulevard1820.net.
The restaurant will be open 5-11 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, with spotlight performances all night by the servers.
One of the restaurant’s management partners is Shane Windmeyer of Charlotte, known as the drag queen Buff Faye. Windmeyer has hosted and planned numerous drag queen charity events and shows since 2007, including a monthly sold-out drag brunch, party bus fundraiser and weekly drag show.
“Straight people love drag queens and make up three-quarters of my regular audience at my drag brunch,” Windmeyer said. He said the Boulevard 1820 experience will be a fun, party atmosphere with food, “sort of Chuck E. Cheese for grown-ups.”
“I have been working hard to test out this concept the last 10 years, and Charlotte is ready for it. Now more than ever, we need places like this to showcase our diversity, build bridges of acceptance and send a message that we are a city that values all people.”
Parties of six or more should call ahead for reservations at 980-498-1892. The venue also can host birthday parties, weddings and other special occasions.