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

Posted on: January 6th, 2016 at 9:33 am by
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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