Lucky Cheng's owner Hayne Suthon passes away

The drag-club founder was a NYC nightlife pioneer for nearly 30 years

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Sadly, Hayne Suthon—the longtime owner and operator of dinner-theater drag club and bachelorette-party staple Lucky Cheng's—died this week after a long battle with cancer.

A New Orleans native, Suthon moved to New York in the 1980s to become a restaurateur. Her first project included transforming a gay bathhouse into the city's first Roman-themed nightspot Cave Canem on First Avenue between 1st and 2nd Streets in 1988, doling out a pheasant-focused menu in a space with vaulted tile ceilings and a five-foot-deep Jacuzzi.

In 1993, she flipped the space again to open Lucky Cheng's and the self-proclaimed drag-queen capital of the universe soon began hosting big-name guests like Yoko Ono and Prince Albert of Monaco. The first restaurant to feature drag-queen servers, bartenders and performers, Cheng's quickly became a girls-night-out hot spot, amped up by a cameo on Sex and the City. The original East Village location closed in 2012 but Lucky Cheng's—and Suthon's influence—lives on at the Times Square outpost.

Many fans have taken to Twitter to mourn the counterculture icon, with NYC celebrity drag queen Linda Simpson commending Suthon on being "NYC's #1 employer of DQs and trans girls" for over two decades.


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