It isn’t very unusual for many fans to be asked what good does following our favorite K-Pop boys and girls do to us. The things we get immersed in could either break or make us. And taking inspiration from K-Pop to something good out of it would probably be the best way of being a fan.
For Iris Garcia, K-Pop became one of the ingredients that prompted her to launch a Seventeen-inspired café at age 19. On August 5, she will officially open Caratreats By Iris in Dasmariñas, Cavite.
“I decided to combine the three things I love the most, which are Seventeen, food, Fvtand business,” Iris says.
She is still a university student majoring in communications, so her mom and dad assist her in running the café. “My parents have always been supportive in everything that I love, and up until this point, they have not left my side,” she says. Her parents have been with her from start to finish, Iris says, and she also chips in for the miscellaneous stuff needed for the shop. She adds, “My mom helps me come up with the recipes… and my dad is a very hands-on supervisor.”
As a first-time business owner caught in the middle of a pandemic, the coronavirus situation is also what made the idea of a café rolling even better for her─online food delivery is highly in-demand.
“We knew that if we went into this business, we would make it well. We love to eat! We love to cook! We love to bake! No challenge, really. We just place that idea one step up; why not a café? Head on. I guess you call it ‘no guts no glory.’ We cooked and cooked during the lockdown. The neighbors loved it, especially our pasta,” Iris says.
And she isn’t wrong. This early in her business, Caratreats By Iris is already well-received by customers who mostly found out about the café online. “[With] a lot of good people supporting you, giving you ideas… wow. That was the top motivation to push through with my dream,” she adds.
Aside from that, Iris gets to meet interesting customers, including a father who thought to drop by her shop because he knew his daughter liked Seventeen. “He plans to come back with his daughter next time! He said he memorizes all the names of the members, and he supports his daughter full-time! It’s evident that he’d do anything just to make his little girl happy,” Iris shares.
“Just recently, a Carat pledged money every end of the month so we could give a meal to any frontliner who drops by the café,” she adds. The café, as it happens, stands across a hospital.
The interior of the Caratreats already looks bright and cozy─with a huge cartoon of her bias, DK, ready to welcome the patrons and the Seventeen albums displayed on shelves along the wall. But they would have to wait until restrictions are lifted; dine-in options have been banned again following the reinstatement of the modified enhanced community quarantine. Food take-out and delivery services are still allowed, though, so scheduled pick-up from Caratreats is highly recommended. Orders for places outside Cavite are planned ahead in bulk to reduce delivery charge.
Even before the actual opening day, the menu items that are already emerging as the best sellers are the pesto pasta, Carat pop, and cheesecake milk tea. Baked red pasta with four cheeses and bamboo charcoal milk tea are also crowd-favorites, and Iris says she’d also recommend those to DK if given the chance.
Caratreats will hold a stay-at-home cupsleeve event on August 7 for general leader S.Coups’ 25th birthday. Heng:garae cupsleeves will also be given to those who will order set meals from August 10 until supplies last.
“We have a lot in store, not only for Carats, but also to all K-Pop fandoms,” Iris says.