Since the airing of Rupaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 7, this queer-owned spot in Quezon City has been mixing croissants with bouffants.
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A rainbow flag hangs above the entrance to our sold-out Saturday brunch. The air that welcomes me is warm and sweet; my nose is hooked up to the air dictating my cravings. Some sense of comfort comes with the glorious smells of breakfast and pastries. It’s nine in the morning, and the place is almost full as the pre-ordered meals are being served.
Butterboy is the brainchild of boyfriends Jayson and Hilder, who turn their bakery shop into a performance space all Saturdays from June to July to supplement their curated menu. “Drag Saturday is a fulfillment of a dream that has been sitting long on our projects board. Matagal na namin gusto i-mix yung love namin for pastry and food with our love for drag,” Hilder says.
They took the announcement of Drag Race’s all winners season as a sign from the universe to act on the idea of hosting viewing parties and giving local queens a venue outside a club setting. “We are huge fans of drag, and since the fruition of Butterboy, we have been incorporating our love for queer culture in our branding. With hosting our drag shows, our business became more personal and reflected ourselves—the Butterboys,” Jayson adds.
After the promise of a hearty meal is fulfilled, high camp is next on the menu as drag takes center stage. Drag brunch is one of those rare opportunities to feel at one with the community during the daytime, devoid of the excesses of the night-time culture. Everything is seen in full light to make you realize how immaculate the queens are. The crowd responds to every stunt, reveal, twirl, dance break, and hair flip with adoring applause. Some of the queens who had already blessed the Butterboy floor with a sprinkle of cheekiness, panache on the side, and a heaping serving of vivacity were Naia, Eva Le Queen, Luka, Abigaile Montgomery, Brigiding, and Precious Paula Nicole.
Giving these queens a place to provide a show to different and new audiences is important because drag has become a viable career option and more work for these artists is always welcome. And as visibility grows, we continue conversing about drag’s shifting definition and what it can teach us. Drag queens are great teachers of self-awareness and self-expression. Jayson shares, “It took me a while after coming out as gay to embrace my queerness and drag expedited being comfortable with myself. These remarkably talented, passionate, and professional drag queens are testament that self-love is key to becoming your best self.”
A viewing of the latest episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars will follow, and then a final drag performance. There’s another dine x drag at 2 PM called Meriendrag—a portmanteau of merienda and drag—that usually features another queen. At Butterboy’s Drag Saturday, you get the best croissants in town and a unique, intimate drag show experience in the light of day, no less. Let’s continue to support queer artists, queer spaces, and queer business owners.
Jayson admits, “Until now, our community does not gain the same respect everyone gets. Just this year, I had a conversation with someone from the business, and I shared how we wanted to be known as a queer-owned business. He replied, “ingat ka lang.” Although slowly, we see more and more people embracing brands regardless of the owner’s gender, we still meet people looking at our queerness as a sign of mediocrity. Representation is key, and with our small space in Quezon City and being part of the community, we feel the need to provide a safe space for customers like us where they can express their authentic selves while our society is in the process of breaking norms.”
We must always create a better future for a stronger community as a generation. This is how we honor the trailblazers before us.
Butterboy is at 81 Basa Street, Barangay Paltok, Quezon City. To learn more, visit butterboyph.com