A strip club in Portland, Oregon, has found a novel way to stay afloat during the global pandemic.
The Lucky Devil Lounge transformed itself into Lucky Devil Eats, which has dancers deliver food, and Food 2 Go-Go, a drive-up service where takeout orders come with an in-car experience that includes performances, music and lights under canopies.
After closing in March under stay-at-home orders, owner Shon Boulden decided on March 17, St. Patrick's Day, to transform the business. Two dancers would be accompanied by a driver, for security, and deliver food prepared on site.
"I was like, 'OK, well let's keep the kitchen open,'" he said. "Let's keep the cooks working at least, and let's open up the kitchen to food deliveries."
Almost overnight, Lucky Devil put about a dozen of its employees back to work. They wear masks and gloves and get their temperatures taken each day they're at work.
"When quarantine shutdowns started happening, I was very anxious about my future and my financial security with my family," said one dancer, Elle Stanger. "I am the sole caregiver for my small family, but I was lucky. I've been really lucky to pivot."
The operation evolved to include takeout, with dancers entertaining customers as they drive — slowly — through the lounge's disco-lit parking lot before getting their food to go.
"It feels really, really good to socialize, even from a distance," Stanger said.
Boulden said he wanted to replicate some of the club's indoor experience without being too lascivious.
"There's no nudity," Boulden said. "We wanted people to be able to take photos and videos and share this story on their Stories, too, because it's just going to be a fun thing."
Lucky Devil is ineligible for federal coronavirus relief because it's an adult business, he said, but he found a way to keep it going.
"The main service that we're providing with this food delivery is a little bit of fun, a little bit of hope, and a little bit of just entertainment at our doorstep," Boulden said.
CORRECTION (May 12, 2020, 10:12 a.m.): An earlier version of this article misstated the last name of the strip club owner in some places. He is Shon Boulden, not Bouldon. It also misstated the last name of one of the dancers. She is Elle Stanger, not Stranger.