Tsismis Restaurant, a Filipino pop-up restaurant has opened shop at the  Major League Baseball’s (MLB) headquarters; it is the first Filipino restaurant that has done so at the MLB’s canteen. Dumaguete-born chef and director of operations Jappy Afzelius serves classic Filipino food like adobo, pinakbet, lain, sisig and bistek Tagalog. Chicken adobo being one of the many dishes that best signifies Filipino cuisine, it is also the most popular dish in the MLB headquarters. Another crowd favorite is the local spicy pulutan food, sisig.

Tsismis restaurant and wine bar first opened in June 2019 in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. From the Spanish word “chisme” which means to gossip, the owners chose Tsismis as their restaurant’s name with the hopes of establishing a casual gathering of people to enjoy food and drinks.

“They loved the food so much that most returned every day. Some clients came back every day for the whole week and are now curious to come to the restaurant,” says chef Afzelius.

Chef Afzelius started as a mortgage banker but due to the financial crisis in 2008, he decided to venture into culinary. He trained in San Francisco and had his internship in the kitchen of chef Allard in Paris before coming to New York. He took up a master’s degree in Food Culture & Communications in Italy and soon became executive sous chef at Manila Social Club in Brooklyn. 

Tsimis was first invited to do a pop-up at Fox News, which led to a friend recommending that he do the same in MLB. The Philippine restaurant pop-up culture is still an untapped opportunity for the industry in general. As what Tsismis Restaurant proves, being a pop-up can make a huge difference in your business—whether local or international.

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