In the middle of the pandemic, a Filipino barkada left their 9-to-5 dental office work to open a Filipino restaurant in Woodside, New York.
Kalye Bistro is turning out to be a popular place for millennials and Gen Zs who are looking for traditional Filipino cuisine that is both inviting and Instagram-ready.
"Na-miss po namin ang Filipino food, Filipino culture, mga nostalgic memories na gusto naming dalhin dito," said co-owner Venice Nepomuceno.
"Nag-usap po kaming magbabarkada na magtayo kami ng business na at the same time, mag-e-enjoy kami. 'Yung Kalye Bistro, we want something new," added co-owner Jez Mendoza.
The restaurant's bestsellers include Pork Sisig, Crispy Kare-kare, Filipino Barbecue, Special Palabok, and Beef Pares with Bone Marrow.
But there is one particular Kalye Bistro offering that is becoming popular among diners. It's their version of the Iskrambol, a Filipino frozen dessert made with shaved ice and banana extract or ube flavor, plus a variety of toppings like marshmallows, Oreos, strawberry or chocolate syrups, and rainbow sprinkles.
With Kalye Bistro's newfound popularity among the younger Fil-Am demographic, the challenge now for this group of friends is to keep up with the busy stream of customers, especially on weekends.
Despite this, the owners said they still make sure to have fun running the business.
"Responsible na kami sa time... then focus na po sa work. Pero andoon pa rin po ang bonding namin after work. Masaya pa rin po," said co-owner Brian Gil Baltazar.