- Fresco's Cantina, a Mexican fusion restaurant in Queens, is staying busy with drag queen delivery service.
- Before the citywide shutdown, the gay-owned eatery had weekly drag shows. "It kind of all made sense putting everything together," owner Brian Martinez told Insider.
- "Drag-livery" queen Inita D say the performers are bringing customers "a moment of joy and sharing" with their food.
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A restaurant in Queens is making the most of New York's lockdown orders by having drag queens deliver its meals for a modest fee.
Customers who spend at least $50 at Fresco's Cantina, a Mexican fusion restaurant in Astoria, can add another $15 to their bill and have a drag performer bring the food to their building and lip-synch a song of their choice outside.
Fresco's began its Sunday "drag-livery" service on May 17, Time Out New York reported, with a quartet of local performers bringing frozen margaritas, tacos al pastor, and more to over 20 homes.
"We're a gay-owned business. We've been doing drag bingo on Thursdays, drag brunch on Sundays, screenings for 'RuPaul's Drag Race,'" Fresco's owner Brian Martinez told Insider. "So, we had that following and people were saying 'I miss bingo, I miss brunch!'"
While the restaurant's sit-down service is on hold during the pandemic, Martinez saw Fresco's delivery business was going through the roof.
"I figured let's incorporate them both, get some queens out there, and help them make some extra money," he said. "It kind of all made sense putting everything together. We stay relevant, our brunch stays relevant, and the girls stay busy."
Inita D, who normally hosts Fresco's weekly bingo game, says the service has allowed her to reconnect with regulars. And they give housebound customers "a moment of joy and sharing."
"It's obvious that things are not the same right now but we're still trying to make it work and celebrate life," Inita said, adding that the first outing included several birthdays.
"People are making it a treat, something special," she told Insider. "They may be stuck at home but they can still celebrate their birthday."
Audrey Phoenix, another delivery drag queen, called being able to perform live — even on the sidewalk — "gratifying."'
"Most of us are just keeping busy doing digital shows, and those are great," Phoenix told Insider. "But it doesn't give you that interaction. Here we can see their smiles, hear the applause. It's tough on everyone right now and hearing someone say 'You made my day' is just incredible."
Onlookers often clap and honk their horns, she added.
All the queens wear face masks while delivering the food and maintain social distancing throughout the interaction. "It's contactless, like Seamless," Inita said.
The masks only come off briefly when they lip-synch.
The next drag delivery is planned for May 31, then the service will be offered weekends throughout June for Pride month, Martinez said. He's already being flooded with texts and emails, even from beyond the restaurant's delivery area in Astoria.
"People are asking from Brooklyn Heights, Forest Hills, Harlem," he said. "Right now we're not doing that, but people are ready to go."
Performers in other cities have also gotten in on the delivery gig: On weekends, drag queens at Black Hart, a gay bar in St. Paul, Minnesota, bring to-go orders out to customers in the parking lot, City Pages reported.
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