The sun is setting, shrouding the Lower East Side in a soft evening light, but the hair and nail salon directly above Mission Chinese Food casts an unflattering glow across the stretch of pavement where a gaggle of would-be diners bides their time. As usual, the wait is over two hours. Among the crowd outside 154 Orchard Street is a pair of middle-aged guys in loafers, hemmed jeans, and pressed button-downs who are leaning on a Cadillac Escalade like they own it. But most patrons are younger and have come here on foot, with time if not money to burn. Perched on a planter that provides the only seating is a fellow with a cotton kimono, complicated piercings, and a leg cast—the result, one feels safe assuming, of a fixed-gear bicycle incident. A young couple strolls up and stares quizzically at Mission’s forbidding exterior, a plate-glass window stenciled with some untranslated Chinese characters. “I thought it was, like, a restaurant,” the guy says to the girl. He’s not the first to be confused. The face Mission presents to the street is not that of the hot spot it is, but rather one of an iffy purveyor of spare ribs and duck sauce.