Carmenderia Filipino brunch pop-up launches on Valentine’s Day

The counter-service spot takes over Lean Draft House by day with Dice and Burgers headlining the nights

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Silog with Filipino sausage

Courtesy of Carmenderia

When Carmen Burch moved to America from the Philippines, she didn’t know what to expect. But she’d learned to cook from her mother and sister, who had a restaurant back home, so when she stumbled upon Lean Draft House—the beer, taco, and motorcycle bar at mile marker zero of the West End BeltLine—she decided to apply for a job there. Nearly seven years later, Lean Draft House announced its closure on Instagram in late 2023, citing the end of its lease with no option to renew. (Burch says the building was sold.) Regardless of the reason, she was crushed.

“I cried,” she says. “It’s my first job in America, and I don’t want to let go of this place.”

Lean Draft House owner Leo Inestroza retains the space until June and is renting it to Burch and another Lean chef, Javier Guerra. Burch, who has two school-aged children, decided to launch a Filipino brunch pop-up called Carmenderia so she could be home with her kids in the evenings. Guerra started a burger-and-board-games pop-up called Dice and Burgers that takes over at 5 p.m. It features a menu of six burgers, a couple of bar food sides, and features plenty of board games—Dungeons & Dragons players welcome.

Lumpia

Courtesy of Carmenderia

Burch’s brunch pop-up runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Since she’s currently working alone, she’s keeping the menu small. Expect small bites like pork and vegetable lumpia (similar to spring rolls), dinamita (Filipino jalapeno poppers) and pancit (stir-fried noodles). The highlight is silog, a traditional Filipino breakfast served with garlic fried rice, fried egg, pickled papaya, and choice of pork, beer, fish, or chicken. Wash it down it down with calamansi juice (think lemonade or limeade). For dessert, there’s turon (banana roll), leche flan, and pulvoron (Filipino shortbread).

“I love cooking, but it all started with homesickness,” Burch says. “There’s not much Filipino food around the area.” She befriended Mia Orino, founder of Michelin-recommended Filipino restaurant Kamayan ATL, in a pub and helped her in the restaurant years ago. Now, Orino is pushing Instagram friends and followers to visit Carmenderia.

The pop-up is slated to run until Lean’s lease expires on June 1. If all goes well, Burch hopes to move it to a more permanent location in the future.

Silog with beef

Courtesy of Carmenderia

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