The Kitchen is Open: Twin Underground Speakeasies Illicitly Serving Orchard and Ludlow

Posted on: January 6th, 2016 at 9:33 am by
This image has been archived or removed.

Cheeky Sandwiches rang in the new year with a tinge of controversy. Indeed, it turns out the beloved neighborhood sandwich shop allegedly operates a subterranean speakeasy. That same basement space which was renovated in the summer of 2014 after a run-in with the Department of Health.

There is a common denominator here. Let’s dive in…

You’ll recall that last week we told you about the illicit after-hours parties happening at 36 Ludlow Street. What neighbors call an active speakeasy, organizers dub “The Kitchen.” Well, these weekly underground get-togethers are reportedly linked to Din Yates of Cheeky Sandwiches and Osvaldo Chance Jimenez (aka SlutLust), co-owner of Orchard Street neighbor La Petit Mort. From what we understand, Yates allegedly holds a lease, or at least a stake in, the south retail space at 36 Ludlow, and has apparently been party to shindigs on premise since as early as May 2015. Though he did not respond to our request for comment, we’ve heard firsthand accounts that Yates has been blasé when confronted about the frequent disturbance. As reported, the cumbersome Kitchen event two weeks ago was busted by cops.

This image has been archived or removed.

Kitchen party at 36 Ludlow at daybreak, June 2015

The Kitchen is kept off the social media airwaves for obvious reasons. Instead, an off-radar invite system is employed via text message that says something to the effect of, “kitchen is open.” Only those party people in the know receive the communique, and usually with just a few hours notice. Such was the case this past weekend, too.

This image has been archived or removed.

The code sent on December 31 (10:01 pm) reads as follows:

Holiday Kitchen afters is open.
35 Orchard St. 4am ABSOLUTE DISCRETION REQUIRED. Share with likeminded individuals ONLY.

Note the address. The basement of Cheeky Sandwiches is also a cook in this so-called kitchen, as it were. And it appears Jimenez is the curator of parties down below, including the late-night New Year’s soiree. While the parties are hush-hush, one need only scope out the SlutLust Instagram account for the skinny. Several photos boast of “afters” happenings with “The Kitchen.” This one in particular refers to the rat-infested basement beneath Cheeky’s.

This image has been archived or removed.

Meanwhile, the roving speakeasies have been a proverbial thorn in the side for neighbors, as the after-hours parties are oftentimes disruptive on an otherwise residential block. Below is some eyewitness video from an event back in June at 36 Ludlow that ended shortly after daybreak.

This is a dangerous game. If proven true, why would two respected Lower East Side proprietors play with fire like this?

Recent Stories

Mayor Adams Vetoes Bill to Fine Non-Artists Residents in Upzoned SoHo and NoHo

The SoHo/NoHo Rezoning saga took a new turn last Friday when Mayor Eric Adams vetoed the controversial bill (Intro 2443A). The last-minute legislation, introduced by former Councilmember Chin, would levy fines against residents occupying JLWQA units without official “artist certification.” The odd JLWQA acronym isn’t the call sign of some defunct NYC radio station; it […]

Gaia Cafe Planning February Return with New Essex Street Locale

Gaia Italian Cafe, a locals favorite, is gearing up for a return. An early pandemic victim, Gaia shuttered its sub-level operations in the summer of 2020 after nearly a decade on East Houston. Then word came through last July that namesake chef-owner Gaia Bagnasacco signed a lease for the ground floor of 119 Essex Street, […]

‘Be My Baby’ and a Strange 1965 Visit to Parisi Bakery (Ronnie Spector RIP)

Ronnie Spector, the chanteuse who fronted the Ronettes in the 1960s with her signature vocal yearning, died yesterday. She was 78. She passed after “a brief battle with cancer,” according to a statement from her family. In tribute to her life and music, we’re re-publishing the following piece from a few years ago highlighting the […]

The Decimated State of East River Park

It’s full throttle with East River Park demolition. Nothing now stands in the way of the $1.45 billion coastal resiliency project. Tree stumps dot the park from East Houston to Corlears Hook, onetime green space which now resembles the blackened wasteland of a post-apocalyptic novel. In all, some 990 trees are being sawed into submission. […]

How to Help Essex Card Shop Rebuild After Devastating Fire on Avenue A

Monday afternoon, a two-alarm fire ripped through 47 Avenue A, destroying the long-running Essex Card Shop. While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, Saba Aslam, daughter of the shop owner, launched a GoFundMe campaign to help rebuild the business. “Every single corner of this store is burned, damaged, and destroyed,” the appeal proclaims. […]