Spaghetti and Drag at Joanne Trattoria

Spaghetti and Drag at Joanne Trattoria

By Tobias HessMar 13, 2024

My particularly tender plate of lamb osso buco from Joanne’s Trattoria came with some delectable sides. There was the bread and olive oil, the bed of fresh vegetables — and the evening of uproarious drag performed throughout the cozy Upper West Side establishment, which is known for its hearty Italian fare and for being owned by the Germanotta family, of Stefani (Lady Gaga) fame.

Given Gaga’s history and general advocacy, drag is a natural addition to any Germanotta affair. After re-opening the restaurant post-pandemic, Joe Germanotta, the restaurant's owner, utilized live performance to encourage nervous diners to re-join them in-person. After the success of bringing live music into the restaurant, Jessee O of G L I T A NYC approached Germanotta about bringing drag to Joanne’s. And thus Drag Me To Joanne’s was born.

They tried a few different models (ticketed events, drag brunch) but ultimately decided to hold two events for no cover charge on Wednesday evenings, which are typically slower. “It's a great evening of entertainment for the price of a good meal,” Germanotta told me over the phone.

The night was a fun and unique outing for a Wednesday evening. After being served our hefty portions of lamb and pappardelle, drag performer Jupiter Genesis (who hosts and co-produces the show) came out in a tight rainbow number. The crowd was an eclectic mix of Gaga stans and older Joanne’s regulars who seemed to regard the show with somewhat shocked amusement. Performing alongside Genesis was Jazmine, a self-described "Portuguese princess" who came out in angelic white, and NYC’s own Essence, who was giving 2000s girl group in a studded denim look. Performing to Gaga, Rihanna, Sinatra and more, diners waved singles, sipped red wine and enjoyed a night in the city.

I had never seen someone do the splits two feet away from me while I slurped down my pasta, but I’m glad that I can say that I now have. And you can to: Drag Me to Joanne's happens every Wednesday at 5:30 PM and 7:30 PM. To make your free reservation, text “DRAG” to 212-721-0068.

Photography: Anthony Leo