"They don’t call me Dirty Delta for nothing."Photo: Melissa Hom
Dirty Delta came to New York eighteen years ago and was introduced to the gay scene via nightspots like Club 58. It wasn’t until she got a job at Lucky Cheng’s a month after it opened that she fell in with the drag queens; for thirteen years the bartender and server has seen the East Village institution through visits from disco divas (“Grace Jones came in and tried to cop pot. We had to let her go”), East Village freaks (“my family”), as well as swarms of “crazy bachelorettes and crazy birthday girls.” As it turns out, her most unforgettable encounter (that we could print) was with a certain pop star.
Do you ever get people who really aren’t into the drag shtick?
Once a Saturday. If I get “What the hell is that?” I’m like, “Oh, don’t be scared of me, baby, [kiss] come to mama.” By the time they leave, they’re giving you kisses on the cheek and telling the manager, “Dirty’s the best bitch.”
Does it ever go beyond a peck on the cheek?
I’ve had men who want to give up their girlfriend for me at the table.
Ever hook up with anyone on the job?
Many, many, many, many times. They don’t call me Dirty Delta for nothing. I’m married now, but I’ve been a nasty bitch for the last thirteen years. Every girl that works here, they’re always lookin for a little sumin’ sumin’. There’s no shame in the game.
Are we talking about tranny chasers or newbies?
Guys who walk in here and act like they don’t know what’s going on, that’s the first person that goes home with one of the girls. St. Marks Hotel, let’s go!
What about celebrities?
A very popular star came in here and got a little tipsy and wanted his dick sucked. He was kind of a wild boy — he’s blonde — and he got a blow job in the back.
Any tamer celebrity stories?
Britney Spears came in with her parents, her little sister, her little sister’s friend. I was like, “Britney, would you like a drink?” and she goes [demurely], “Diet Coke, please.” I was disappointed. But about a month or two later, she brought all her dancers here, took her shoes off, looked like white trash — which I love her for. We have orgy bowls here that come on fire — it’s a drink meant for five people. She drank three of them by herself, and she would not share with anybody. The dancers were at the bar. They say, “Don’t get Britney one more drink.” I go, “Baby I cannot cut Britney off unless she’s passed out on the floor.” And they go, “She wants tequila shots! Make a fake tequila shot. We have rehearsal at 9 a.m. in Jersey for a 60,000-seat arena.” The next day she made it to the concert, but she busted her leg. And who’s fault was it? Dirty Delta’s, baby! Three orgy bowls and one tequila shot — the other five were fake, but … It’s your own fault, boo!
How long does it take you to get ready for work?
If I’m rushed, I can do it in twenty minutes, which is not a good thing. I usually take my time — it’s like two hours because I like to sit around, smoke a cigarette, relax. We have it down to a science. But we still always get in trouble because we’re late.
And how long does it take to take it all off?
We never take it off, because when you walk into the store, walk across the street, go to the club, Lucky Cheng’s girls have the power of life. You wash it off, you lose it. The Hell’s Angels would give us a ride. That’s the addiction of it.
What’s your interaction like with the back of the house? Are they as ribald as they are at other restaurants?
[Emphatically] Perverts. I’ve been woken up with a hand up in my panties underneath my skirt a couple of times, but it’s all good. They love us. We’re more sexy than women. We’re the bedroom fantasy.
It has to be said, everyone complains that the food is lousy and overpriced. At this point, do you bother defending it?
I’ve seen fifteen different chefs. It goes up and down, up and down. We just got a great new chef that’s fabulous. For uptight people, it does matter what the food is. But you don’t come to Lucky Cheng’s to eat gourmet food; you come to see some bitch in a G-string acting crazy at your table. —Daniel Maurer