FFTG – or Food For The Gays, a play at dessert “food for the gods” – wants to be seen as more than just a community café, Instead, said FFTG co-owners (and partners in life) Chippy Abando and Nariese Giangan, this is a place where you – LGBTQIA people, and even those who are not – can be who you are without fearing to be judged. In a gist: a safe space.
“This isn’t common,” said Chippy. What we usually have as spaces for LGBTQIA people are bars, so “maiba naman yung meeting place (here’s a different meeting place).” This is particularly since “not everyone (goes out to) drink, or go dancing.” There are some who prefer to be in a place more conducive for meetings, for that first date, etc so that “malaking bagay na nagkaroon tayo ng community safe space (in FFTG).”
Nariese used to sell pastries online, around April 2020. Then this February, just as Chippy celebrated her birthday, they opened the physical venue.
With FFTG – and even if the name denotes members of the LGBTQIA community – “there’s no specific market targeted,” said Nariese, stressing that everyone is welcome here.
But Nariese said two things are worth highlighting here.
On one hand, they believe that creating a safe space for members of the LGBTQIA community pays off because “we believe in the pink peso.” This point’s worth stressing because when the pandemic happened, many venues closed, including LGBTQIA venues; and “for sure, particularly after the pandemic, there’d be yearning to be in another safe space.”
On the other hand, “we believe in our products.” Meaning, what they offer do not just look good in the menu; they’re actually tasty. Meaning, too, what they have “are something (we’re excited) to share.”
Opening a business with a partner – or even with others – can be challenging, admitted Nariese. But what makes it easier is they are at a point where “we both already know what we want.”
Besides, for Chippy, it helps that this has become a real partnership – i.e. they complement each other. Nariese, for instance, oversees food-related concerns; while Chippy focuses on the beverages. That they can help each other out as needed in their areas of focus is just a plus.
The menu – albeit short – contains various offerings.
For the food, consider:
- Pasta a la Carbonara (P150)
- Spaghetti alla Chitarra (P160)
- Pesto Pasts with Grilled Cajun Chicken (P180)
- Margherita pizza (P160)
- Meat Lover’s (P190)
- FFTG Special (P220)
- Banh Mi (lemongrass beef, chicken satay, char siu pork, P115-P150)
For the drinks, consider:
- Thai iced tea (P80)
- Iced drinks (mocha latte, coffee shakerato, cafe au lait, coffee creamery, from P80-P110)
- Hot chocolate (P70-P90)
If you’re in the mood to try something… rainbow-inspired, try the Rainbow Grilled Sandwich, which is, basically, grilled bread with rainbow-colored cheese fillings. That it doesn’t taste “fake cheese” is definitely a plus.
FOCUS ON EXPERIENCE
All in all, “it’s about the experience,” said Nariese. There are many places where you can eat pasta, pizza, etc but “it feels different if you eat them here. That’s a big part of it.”
Because here, added Chippy, no one will swear at you, you won’t feel ostracized, there’s no prejudice, and it’s safe. Meaning, “you’d enjoy your food while enjoying people’s company,” she said. – WITH MICHAEL DAVID dela Cruz TAN