Tsismis NYC, 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, laing, sisig, and bistek Tagalog.
Tsismis NYC first opened in June 2019 in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. From the Spanish word “chisme” that means to gossip, the owners chose Tsismis in 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 Afzelius.
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 Chez Allard in Paris before coming to New York. He took up a master’s degree in food culture and communications in Italy and soon became executive sous chef at Manila Social Club in Brooklyn.
Tsismis NYC was first invited to hold 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 NYC proves, being a pop-up can make a huge difference in your business—whether local or international.