Burgers, drag queens and topless waiters

A beefcake: A kind of hamburger that hit US plates in the 1950s or the description of a muscle-flexing, minimally-attired man? What’s not to like about both? That may be what brothers, Grant and Andrew Eglin thought when they started Beefcakes.

Inspired by the 50s and Miami South Beach styling, this tongue-in-cheek restaurant combines beefcakes of both kinds. Yes, that means there are burgers on the menu and an all male crew of built waiters in tight vests at your service. I was super excited to be invited to the branch in Illovo, Joburg (there’s also one in Cape Town). It was Thursday night and there was going to be a drag show! 

Here’s the lowdown:

The ambiance: From the get go, Beefcakes buzzed – all the way from pink grand piano at the entrance and pink and white metal flamingos lined up in the middle of the restaurant to the Vivienne Westwood wallpaper on the pillars and glitter hats on the tables.

The menu: Although burgers are the stars of the Beefcakes menu, there is a variety of other meal options including wraps, salads and snacks. But I stuck to the specialities and had the delicious Greek god burger with lamb, homemade tzatziki and chunky chips. Beefcakes also has a good cocktail menu. I said yes please to the house favourite, the Pink Tea (white spirits shaken with watermelon liqueur and layered with lemonade) and a Pina Colada (it just seemed like the right thing to do). 

The high and the low: The Dreemz show, starring the resident drag trio – Miss K, Holly Diamond and Crystal Decanter – was over the top, and undoubtedly my high of the evening. These ‘ladies’ were amazing – and amazingly funny! My low is that I wish the show could have gone on for longer or that I could have taken even more photos of them (had to restrict myself to only publishing the ones you see here, but I've got loads more). Time does fly when you’re having fun.  

But wait there’s more: After the show, the waiters and barmen were asked onto the stage to get shirtless, which caused some craziness and orders of Beefcakes’ (in)famous body shots. By then the dessert arrived too and I got side-tracked. Fellow blogger, Namritha, her colleague and I shared the Priscilla Queen of the Dessert, which included double-chocolate brownies, deep fried Tinkies, banana spring rolls and ice cream.

We were also given some Beefcakes calendars. Namritha and I decided that Mr December was the Beefcakes Man of 2013 – he’s on the photo of the dessert below. A lady who was hovering near our table asked to look at my calendar. Her friends came over too. And inspired, they went to buy their own… Now that’s the power of Beefcakes!

The verdict
There always seems to be something happening at Beefcakes – from Bitchy Bingo on Tuesday evenings to performing drag artists on Wednesday and Thursday nights, among others.  So, if you’re in Joburg, indulge your inner fun-loving glitter-hat-wearing self – you need (yes, you do!) a burger and a cocktail (or two or five) served by a hot guy in a tight vest.

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