I love big ideas. Nine years ago I started one of them. I wanted to do a monthly drag brunch in Charlotte. Yes, drag during the daytime with food. Of course, there were brunches back then, but not any regular “drag brunches” in town. Plus I wanted to be sure the brunch gave back to charities too.
Sometimes you’ve just got to step out and take the jump. I had only been doing drag as a “camp queen” for a year at the time. My drag name is Buff Faye, so why not food and drag?! And I did it. I did my first drag brunch at Hartigan’s Pub, and it was a huge success.
I think back on all the queens who helped that first drag brunch: Kiana Layne, Detra Panucci, Jessica Raynes Starr, Sierra Santana, Miley Vyrus (my husband) and Rachel Whitney. Each of them brought so much talent and heart, and that first brunch was such a joy. We had matching costumes made and refrigerator magnets with the slogan “Food & Fun for the Whole Family.” And I remember all the love at Hartigan’s Pub among the audience and the unwavering support of the owners DJ Little Betty, Jill and Christi. It was truly magical.
We often forget in the moment how special these times are. The drag brunch has been just that — special. Not just for me, but I hope for the entire Charlotte community and those who have attended over the years. Of course, when Hartigan’s closed its doors, I could not believe it had come to an end. But I guess everything must come to an end. Nothing is permanent. We must breathe and enjoy those good times while they are here.
But surprise! It was not over. Lo and behold, and lucky for me and the drag brunch queens, Cathode Azure hosted Buff Fayes’s Drag Brunch and then The Bar at 316 stepped up. Attendance waned a bit during those times, but Buff Faye’s drag brunch persevered nonetheless. It became part of the community. And then shortly thereafter, we found a home at Pure Pizza.
Long before the drag brunch, Pure Pizza off Central Avenue was already a safe space for LGBTQ people. The restaurant had gender inclusive bathrooms even before the HB2 debacle and often donated to LGBTQ charities. Juli Metcalf Ghazi, one the owners, was so excited to welcome us when we were moving between bars. She and her manager Tina were all over it.
And now two-plus years later, Pure Pizza has been home to Buff Faye’s Drag Brunch.We have grown with new audience members and bigger crowds than ever. It has been nine years in total. Over 6,000 brunches served to date. Wow! Buff Faye’s Drag Brunch keeps feeding the children.
Truly amazing how this big idea has changed everything. It ultimately led to the opening of Boulevard 1820, Charlotte’s premier drag queen dining restaurant and bar (located in historic SouthEnd under Tupelo Honey). My husband Tommy and I helped to create and open Boulevard 1820 as managing partners this past August. The success of the drag brunch only proved Boulevard 1820 was a great idea that Charlotte was ready for. People are hungry for drag queens and food. There is no doubt about that.
So here’s the big news. Drum roll please. And remember bigger is always better.
We’re moving. New location. More drag brunches. Feeding you even more Buff Faye.
Starting Sunday, March 25, Buff Faye’s Drag Brunch will move locations to Boulevard 1820. We will have two drag brunches every month with two seatings at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. We will still be donating to local charities, actually half of the proceeds now. Tickets became available online at AllBuff.com on March 7.
The new location and big changes are exciting. And I want to thank Pure Pizza (Juli and Tina) and the bar and restaurant owners who have supported me and who have kept Buff Faye’s Drag Brunch thriving the past nine years. I especially want to thank those who have come out to the drag brunch and continue to do so.
Finding community among us, celebrating who we are and raising money for local charities is important to me. My hope is that Buff Faye’s Drag Brunch will always be a special unique time in the Queen City and that together we can do that for another nine-plus years.
DRAG TIP: Try the Fierce Fried Pickles!
SHOUTOUTS: Thank you to those drag queens who believed in my idea way back when we started. Plus the owners and staff at Hartigan’s Pub who took care of us and let me shoot confetti canons. LOL.
info: Buff Faye calls the Queen City her home and performs to help blur the lines of gender binaries (and raise money for charities). Find her at your favorite bars and hotspots. Plus don’t forget her drag brunch and regular events. Learn more at AllBuff.com. Follow on Twitter @BuffFaye.