This week’s title comes from the 1950s Broadway musical, “The Pajama Game."
The song is “Hernando’s Hideaway” and is about the kind of place where people go for clandestine meetings with lovers. It rang true for many LGBTQ people of that era (which is even before mine!). Younger readers, thankfully, may not even understand what constitutes a “gay” restaurant. Thanks to those upon whose shoulders they stand (knowingly or not), they are free to be themselves any place they go. That wasn’t the case years ago, when even the sight of two men having dinner alone would raise eyebrows. A romantic date night was nearly impossible, unless you knew where to go. In every city, there was always at least one place where men could meet for a dinner date. Usually, it was owned or managed by someone gay or lesbian, or someone open-minded, or who was so desperate for business that they looked the other way.
The idea of a gay restaurant now is much broader, but it’s usually someplace frequented by LGBTQ clientele and their allies and/or owned by an openly LGBTQ person. Now, these places are so mainstream that MSN.com has an article on “30 Great LGBTQ-Owned Restaurants To Visit In The U.S.” The list includes some local favorites such as Wynwood’s R House. It also gets a few things wrong. It lists Shaun & Nick’s Courtyard Café, which was already closed and reopened as Myth Gastrobar when the article was published. And I won’t even begin to list the WilMa places that the article didn’t include.
Chicago makes the list with Split-Rail in the city’s rapidly gentrifying Humboldt Park neighborhood. Chef/owner Zoe Schor dishes up comfort food that manages to feel upscale. After dinner, head downstairs to Schor's subterranean lesbian bar, Dorothy.
In Brooklyn, Ursula features New Mexican cuisine from restaurateur and chef Eric See. On weekends, folks line up to sample the breakfast burritos and green chilé fried mushroom sandwiches.
Boichik Bagels, in Berkeley, California, got its name when owner Emily Winston's grandmother used the Yiddish word of endearment meaning “young boy” to describe her butch granddaughter. She used her bubby’s gender-bending term for her bagel operation as a badge of pride.
In one of the few remaining lesbian bars in the country, Slammers Bar & Pizza Kitchen, in Columbus, Ohio, rainbows abound. This spot is equally well-known for its pizza. The thin crust boasts toppings that are traditional as well as inventive (pickle chips with alfredo sauce).
Wusong Road, in Boston, has been named one of the best tiki bars in the country. The menu of Shanghai dishes from Jason Doo features small plates of coconut-glazed spareribs, scallion pancakes with braised Angus brisket, and whimsical specials, such as bunny-shaped bao buns for the Chinese New Year.
Located in the heart of Philadelphia’s “gayborhood,” Winkel is one of the city's favorite dining destinations. Chef JonCarl Lachman features unique Dutch fare for brunch, such as uitsmijters; eggs, ham, cheese, and spicy chicken, stacked on bread for an open-faced sandwich.
And if you’re thinking, “That’s great for people that live in big cities with a large gay population,” the list also includes FarmBar and Il Seme in Tulsa, Oklahoma, both owned by wives Lisa Becklund and Linda Ford, the former being a seasoned chef up for a James Beard Foundation Award. FarmBar is one of Tulsa's most esteemed restaurants, and Il Seme is an Italian date-night spot downtown.
Lil's Kitchen, in Dayton, Kentucky is owned by Julia Keister, whose breakfast and lunch-focused menu is particularly known for its sandwiches and toasts, such as trout salad toast, egg salad sandwiches, and tahini-enriched smoothies.
To see the complete list, go to https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/other/30-great-lgbtq-owned-restaurants-to-visit-in-the-us/ar-AA1bKpvp