Brunched in the Face | Restaurant Reviews | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Brunched in the Face 

Have Saturday night on Sunday morning with The Tavernacle's Drag Brunch.

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click to enlarge JESSE HOWELL/BROFIKI PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Jesse Howell/Brofiki Photography

Utah's Sunday tone is largely governed by the church and football crowd—those who spend the day trying to combine Sabbath reflection and screaming at a TV referee. This cultural norm charges movie theaters, grocery stores, restaurants and bars with a mild controversy on Sundays that isn't present during the rest of the week. It's like this socially-constructed powder keg that makes select renegades feel dangerous and prompts religious devotees to glance over their shoulder when they make a Target run just in case their bishop drives by. I see it, you see it and the drag starlets behind Quorum of the Queens sure as hell see it, because they've just detonated that fucker in an explosion of glitter, false eyelashes and bloody marys.

Said detonation took place during the Queens' sold-out debut of Drag Brunch at The Tavernacle and will hopefully be a monthly occurrence—the next one is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 17. A quorum of drag queens taking over The Tavernacle for opulent Sunday brunching—complete with a customizable mimosa bar— is a clear jab at the local religious color. If there's anything more diametrically opposed to keeping the Sabbath day holy, I have yet to see it.

The queens in question are among Utah's finest. A lineup that includes Eva Chanel Stephens, London Skies, Kay Bye, David Lorence and is emceed by none other than Gia Bianca Stephens promises a well-rounded show—and I'm not talking about all that foam rubber T and A. I had the pleasure of attending this event with some off-duty Viva La Diva queens, and observing the light shade between them and the Quorum shed some light on what it means to be a queen in Utah—keep your friends close and your rivals so close that you can criticize their lip liner if need be.

If you're planning on checking out the Quorum's sophomore show this Sunday, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, don't come without a wad of singles—the queens don't shake their asses for pleasant manners after all. It's also a good idea to come prepared to get a bit sloshed, since the brunch's cocktail menu features a build-your-own mimosa and bloody mary bar for 5 bucks a pop. Of course, given brunch occupies a pivotal role in the whole affair, make sure to come hungry.

The Tavernacle's kitchen cranks out a fantastic menu that lampoons Utah culture right along with the Quorum's floor show. For example, the Hashie Bowl ($12) is a breakfast adaptation of funeral potatoes, one of the state's most legendary side dishes. The dish adds shredded pork, scrambled eggs and salsa roja to this local favorite, making for a hearty meal with which to soak up all those mimosas. For those after a brunch item that is essentially lunch, the Baptism by Fire Burger ($10, pictured) is made with pepper jack cheese and jalapeños for a hit of smoky heat that can just about compete with Kay Bye's Nicki Minaj-inspired number. From a food and drink standpoint, the Drag Brunch can definitely stand on its own, but it's the sheer spectacle that makes this event pop. Where else can you enjoy French toast ($8), golden brown and bedazzled with cinnamon, while fellow attendees fan dollar bills at five of Utah's most bodacious queens performing their hearts out?

Although this spectacle alone is worth the price of admission, it did take a fair amount of time for the food to arrive once Gia Bianca got things revved up. I can totally chalk this up to debut jitters—it's always tough for a kitchen to anticipate and accommodate an audience big enough to fill the venue. Plus, it's hard to complain about the wait, when an interactive drag revue is in full swing around your table. Now that The Tavernacle team has opening day under their belts, I'm sure service will smooth itself out for future events.

I left Drag Brunch with a newfound appreciation for performers—and, who am I kidding, the attendees as well—who can muster up that much energy on a Sunday morning. The drinks were flowing, the food was delicious and the entertainment was downright queenly. Those interested in getting tickets for the next event will want to snag them in advance via Eventbrite. Go forth and be dazzled.

QUORUM OF THE QUEENS
When: Sunday, Nov. 17, 11 a.m.; $15,
Where: The Tavernacle, 201 E. 300 South, 801-519-8900, tavernacle.com
Best bet: The heavenly dusted (not busted) French toast
Can't miss: You haven't lived until you've been motorboated on a Sunday morn

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