Queens Filipino Restaurant Abruptly Closes

(Photo via The FilAm)

The abrupt closure of the popular Filipino restaurant Payag has surprised longtime customers who responded to the news on the Facebook post where owner Rena Avendula made the July 27 announcement.

The FilAm’s Cristina DC Pastor writes how in addition to offering Filipino cuisine – in particular, regional foods from Cebu province and the Visayas – Payag also provided a stage for up-and-coming musicians and popular singers from Manila.

The restaurant also became involved in Filipino politics.

Avendula created and produced the Internet-based program “I Am Pinoy Proud Ako” (IAPPA) and allocated one of the rooms in the restaurant as the show’s studio where guests came for interviews. IAPPA started as a variety show featuring popular destinations in NYC and the FilAms who made it big in the city. With its media platform, however, it campaigned actively for Rodrigo Duterte and became his U.S.-based mouthpiece after he won the presidency. Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza and Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar held press interviews at Payag when they visited NYC in January after coming from the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington D.C. What used to be a cozy dining experience has turned into a beehive of pro-Duterte political activity, says one customer.

Avendula has expressed to The FilAm how she admires Duterte and believes he is the president the Philippines needs at this time.

The owner made a mention of the Filipino president in her farewell message on Facebook:

The place that touched so many Filipinos and strongly support Pres. Duterte.

Read more on what Payag meant to its longtime customers and what Avendula envisioned for the restaurant when she opened it in July 2010, at The FilAm.

Sunnyside Post also covered the closing of the restaurant. Reporter Nathaly Pesantez writes:

Although the announcement was abrupt, Rena Avendula, the owner of the restaurant, said she had been thinking about closing shop for a while after becoming embroiled in a lawsuit against a former business partner, which led to her business being bashed by people who weren’t on her side, and after her pro-Duterte stance alienated some of her customers.

“Financially, I’m affected,” Avendula, 50, said. “I feel it’s a wise decision to go in a different direction.”

Go to for Sunnyside Post for more on whether Avendula will stay in the restaurant industry.

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