Erika Costa, former manager of now-shuttered Bushwick institution Baby Skips, has emerged with a delicious new project of her own – a Filipino food popup stand operating outside of All Night Skate, a vibrant and charming roller rink-themed bar off of the Bushwick Ave/Aberdeen stop on the L train. She’s called her popup Patikim, a Tagalog word meaning “to taste, to sample.” Offerings include barbecued meat, fish, and vegetable skewers, fluffy rice, and traditional Filipino desserts. She operates out of All Night Skate every Monday and Tuesday, starting at 5 p.m. until sold out.
Having moved from the Philippines 12 years ago, Costa says that her primary intention with Patikim is to introduce a wide variety of Filipino food to people who may not be acquainted with it, in addition to providing a familiar, comforting experience for the Filipino population of Bushwick and beyond. “There’s a little something for everyone,” she says. “Sharing is the goal. I want to make it so that everyone can try Filipino food.”
Costa brought her influence to Baby Skips’ menu long before Patikim was born, with dishes featuring Filipino staples such as ube, a purple yam originating from the Philippines, and atchara, a side comprised of pickled vegetables. Her first popup project was a Kamayan Box, a pizza box filled with samples of Filipino food, based out of Little Skips.
After five years managing eateries under the Little Skips umbrella, Costa found herself at a crossroads. Restaurants were buckling under the weight of COVID-related shutdowns, and food industry employees were exhausted after a year of working on the front lines of the pandemic. The decision point for Erika came when both of her parents were hospitalized with COVID. “I was looking at myself and my life, totally reevaluating everything. I asked myself ‘Are you happy? Are you doing this for someone else?’ And I was. I was running someone else’s business. It was either now or never.” She decided it was time to spearhead her own business. “I realized I’d been doing so much for other people,” says Costa. “I was ready to do my own thing.”
Two-thirds of the All Night Skate ownership team, Danny Waits and Mitch McCann met Costa as former managers for various restaurants within the Little Skips family. Costa befriended Olivia Hu, the third owner of All Night Skate, through Waits and McCann. Costa expressed her desire to branch out and begin her own food popup project. Hu provided support and a plan.
“Olivia and I were hanging at the beach when she asked me ‘Do you want to grill at All Night Skate?’ And I agreed to, because I love grilling! We decided to set up a grill on the patio of the bar for me to work with.” Barbecuing, Costa mentions, is a significant bonding activity in Filipino culture. “We barbecue at Christmas, at New Years. It’s something the whole family takes part in. Barbecuing in the summer is particularly nostalgic for me.”
Patikim’s first popup was mid-June 2021, a five day run wherein All Night Skate lent their kitchen to Costa for her to bring Patikim to life. Now, every Monday and Tuesday evening, you can find her operating the grill on the patio alongside a few trusted friends. “Selling yourself as an introvert is scary, so working with my friends has been wonderful. There’s a great vibe at All Night Skate. Everyone has really good energy.”
While the menu rotates from week to week, it consistently features at least three traditional Filipino main dishes, two sides, and a dessert. One menu mainstay is a set of three tender and subtly sweet grilled pork barbecue skewers served with cabbage atchara. For an additional $2, turmeric coconut rice can be added as a side. This week’s vegan offerings included portobello mushroom skewers, grilled corn slathered in rich coconut cream and chili lime salt, and a loaded sweet potato with black beans. All vegan and gluten free items are clearly indicated on the menu. “I love being in charge of the menu every week,” enthuses Costa. “I’m not trying to do any sort of fusion food. I love Filipino food as-is!”
You can check out Patikim on the patio of All Night Skate (54 Rockaway Ave. Brooklyn NY, 11233) every Monday and Tuesday evening until winter 2021, from 5 p.m. until sold out.