Diaspora News

Noypitz returns, Kapistahan closes

By Abner Galino

Image © Facebook

A FILIPINO restaurant that has been gone for five years has re-opened as another in the heart of Filipinotown in Los Angeles bade goodbye to its clientele.

Noypitz Bar and Grill officially opened its doors again to its Filipino American clients at noontime Saturday last week. The ribbon cutting was officiated by Philippine Consul General in Los Angeles Adelito S. Cruz and California state senatorial candidate Mike Eng.

The restaurant which used to be situated by the freeway 134 in Glendale has found a new home in Lakes Drive, West Covina.

Manager Laurence Gumban is very happy to be reunited with many of his co-workers from the old Noypitz and considers the change of venue as among the advantages of the new Noypitz. The old Noypitz closed in December 2013.

“I think we have a better location — in terms of parking and structural additions and also, I think we have a bigger Filipino American community here,” Gumban said.

He added Noypitz remains as it was: fine dining restaurant and entertainment bar.

Catharine Cruz (middle), wife of Philippine Consul General in Los Angeles Adelio S. Cruz, poses with Noypitz Bar and Grill original owner Larry Calonzo (far right) and Rose Sarreal, mother of one of its new owners. On the left of Cruz are Sarreal’s daughter and granddaughter Christine and Aliyah.
Photo by Bobby Crisostomo.

“We will continue to serve authentic Filipino cuisine. We will provide a place for Filipino families to enjoy a savory and quiet dinner,” Gumban added.

Which means, Gumban explained, that there will only be piano or jazz or soft solo performances during dinners. Dancing and/or band performances will start at 9 p.m.

Noypitz will also serve affordable single order plates during lunch when their so-called “happy hours” begins with (read) beer at US$2.50 per bottle.

Singer and Kapistahan Grill former owner Ciamara Morales on the stage with friend and co-host Jamie Bacani. Photo by Pol Joaquin

On the other hand, the Kapistahan Grill restaurant in Temple St., in Los Angeles has closed its doors to its clients on the night of that same Saturday.

Kapistahan has been the watering hole of downtown LA’s Pinoy videoke lovers for the last nine years.

One of its owners, singer and former Filipinotown beauty Queen Ciamara Morales said she and her partners in Kapistahan’s decided to go separate ways due to some personal changes ahead of each of them.

For one, Ciamara is tying the knot with her fiancée in September.

“It was all good though. Wala namang perpektong samahan. But we are all moving on — in good terms with each other,” Ciamara said.

And the good news is: We are not really going to lose the only fine dining restaurant in Filipinotown. Ciamara disclosed that a similar type of restaurant would rise very soon at the same spot that Kapistahan is vacating.

“I’m definitely going to be a part of it,” Ciamara added, “and what’s ongoing are negotiations with those who would be partners in this new venture.”

Ciamara also disclosed that the prospective Filipinotown restaurant will be called “Chibogs.”

“We promise our loyal patrons that it would be better,” Ciamara concluded.

Inside story

Months before it closed, people have been talking about the owners of Kapistahan Grill looking for people who would buy them out from the business.
Rose Sarreal, whose son is one of the new owners of Noypitz, was among those who got interested in taking over Kapistahan Grill.
Kinausap ko si Larry at si Gemma (Strong). And we decided to form a partnership,” Sarreal recalled.
According to Sarreal, the owners of Kapistahan Grill were very accommodating to them.
Gusto naman nila kami. Umuusog naman ang usapan,” Sarreal said adding that unfortunately, the owner of the property played “hard to get” with us and his “demands” turned off the prospective investors.
So, lumabo na ‘yung tsansa na kami ang makakuha ng Kapistahan,” Sarreal intimated.
Almost simultaneously as a new plan to phase out Kapistahan Grill took shape, the original owner of Noypitz, Larry Calonzo, found an Indian cuisine restaurant in Lakes Drive, West Covina. The said restaurant was closing out and Calonzo quickly negotiated to secure the place.
May kaunting challenges during the process, but eventually, nakuha rin namin,” Sarreal intimated.
Last week, a soft opening preceded last Saturday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at Noypitz.
Natuwa naman kami kasi napakaraming taong dumating. Naisip naming, marami pa rin palang interesado sa Noypitz kahit matagal itong nawala,” Sarreal noted.
Abner Galino
The author is a poet and a writer. He was a cultural worker before he became a reporter for Tinig ng Masa and Malaya Midday Edition during the Marcos regime. He later became a reporter of People's Tonight shortly after 1986 EDSA Revolution. He went on to become its Chief of Reporters, City Editor and News Editor. He retired after 15 years in the Journal Group of Publications. He now writes for Weekend Balita and the US Asian Post (USAP), weekly Filipino-American newspapers based in Los Angeles, California.

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