Pride Month in New Brunswick Starts with Drag Brunch at Roosterspin

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City Center gets loud and proud for Pride Month, and it all starts this weekend at Roosterspin.

The restaurant at 120 Albany St. known for its Korean-infused comfort food, large bar, private karaoke rooms, and vinyl record collection will host Viva Aaliyah's Drag Queen Show Brunch on Sunday, June 4.

Guest Jade and DJ Early will also be on hand for two shows at 11 a.m. (already sold out) and 3 p.m. 

Roosterspin owner Mihae Cho said the show dovetails with her efforts to make the restaurant welcoming to everyone.

In fact, she held the first drag brunch on the sidewalk outside of Roosterspin in the summer of 2020, when restaurants were permitted to have outdoor dining in response to capacity restrictions due to COVID-19.

“It was so much fun,” Cho said. “They sang and got the audience involved and everyone had a great time. At the time we had outdoor dining. At one point, they walked out into the middle of the road and kind of stopped traffic. Cars were stopped. I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ I was getting worried at that point.”

Cho is planning a choice of three plates: Chicken and waffles made with gluten-free rice flour, avocado toast, and a salmon and egg sushi roll.

Creating hip, Asian-inspired dishes with a twist were not on the menu for Cho, who came to the United States when she was about 15. She had to learn English from scratch growing up in Baltimore.

She was a pharmacist for about 10 years before opening a restaurant in New York with her ex-husband.

About 10 years ago, she opened the first Roosterspin in Westfield. The second one in New Brunswick opened about five years ago.

“I want my restaurants to be inviting to everybody,” Cho said. “Some places you go, you might notice that they’re geared toward a younger crowd, like 20 to 30 in a group. Or it might be family-oriented. But, I wanted my restaurants to be welcoming to every age group. We welcome diversity. We want to be welcoming to anybody.”

Pride Month is commemorated and celebrated each June as a nod to the seminal Stonewall Riots in 1969.

LGBTQ+ community members celebrate the month in a variety of ways, including roundtable talks about social issues, parades, parties and, of course, a drag show or two.

In addition to Viva Aaliyah's Drag Queen Show Brunch (tickets for the 3 p.m. show can be purchased by calling the restaurant at 732-545-4500), City Center New Brunswick will host its first annual Hub City Pride Brunch.

The event debuts June 25 at 11 a.m. outside on Livingston Avenue in front of the historic State Theatre New Jersey.

Hosted by Drag Queen comedian and singer Pissi Myles, the brunch event includes a buffet brunch, exciting door prizes, awesome beats by DJ IZM, prizes for Best Dressed (first and second place), and a performance by Pissi.

Story & Photo Credit: Chuck O'Donnell