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Viral TikTok Video Helps Local Restaurant, Filly Luv, Become a Bed-Stuy Food Staple

After a viral TikTok video, Filly Luv, a Black-woman-owned restaurant in Bed-Stuy found themselves with lines outside of their restaurant.
Community members wish Deja Bond some "luv" for her new restaurant.

Filly Luv, a Bed-Stuy restaurant serving up love — in the form of fried chicken sandwiches, wraps and boba teas — got off to a rough start when it opened in August 2022.

Owner and proud Philadelphian Deja Bond said her eatery missed the influx of summer patrons who would normally cruise down Malcolm X Boulevard, where Filly Luv is located, and so the restaurant only had 25-50 orders a day. 

But, after a TikTok food review video created by marketing strategist Angel Boyd, went viral — to the tune of over 600,000 views — things quickly turned around for the young business owner. Hungry customers lined up outside of Bond's restaurant ready to try her famous chicken sandwiches and boba tea combo.  

“We had our loyal customers who would, a couple times a week, stop in,” said Bond. “Even though that sounds small I was grateful for each order. It's amazing to gain new customers, but to have old ones return and tell their friends was big for me.” 

Filly Luv offers a variety of different chicken sandwiches and Boba teas. . Photo: Brianna Robles for BK Reader.

“Social media is a tool and it has the potential to be used to help any business,” Boyd told BK Reader. “I think it depends on whose hand the tool is in. The number one thing you have to do is serve. You have to focus on how it [your business] serves other people.” 

The viral video forced Bond to scale up quickly in order to keep serving her community, she said. During the very first rush of customers, she said she even had to turn people away simply because they didn’t have enough food. 

"I was like, 'Oh my God,'" Bond said. "We just weren't prepared for the capacity that we were experiencing."

Now, she said, they are always fully stocked for their fans. 

The restaurant began as her passion project. Last year, the 27-year-old owner pivoted from her tech career to follow her passion for cooking and food. Following the advice of her brother and the dedication and hard work instilled in her by her mother, father and grandmother, Bond quickly turned her passion project into a reality. 

She spent hours at a time combining her favorite seasonings and sauces to make the perfect sandwich she hoped the neighborhood would enjoy. Bond spent time cultivating relationships in Bed-Stuy and offering samples to locals in exchange for their honest reviews and suggestions, she said.

Owner Deja Bond outside her restaurant in Bed-Stuy. Photo: Brianna Robles for BK Reader.

Following the influx of customers, Bond and her restaurant’s team of community members and young professionals began to strategize and implement new practices and procedures. 

Listening to feedback from her customers has allowed them to try new menu items and create better packaging options for their food, so that fries and sandwiches stay crispy and hot.

Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, is her source of inspiration. Her goal is to nourish customers through food and make sure everyone feels welcomed when they enter her space.

Bond continues to grow her community outreach by participating in local school events to help young children hone their creativity and skills. And, any additional food at the end of the day is donated to those who cannot afford a meal. 

“Your faith will take you further than you can take yourself,” said Bond. “I worked relentlessly and business is hard. Even though we were going through hardships, I think I’m still very blessed because a lot of people don’t get to have a business in New York City.”  

You can follow Filly Luv on Instagram and place an order on their website

Brianna Robles

About the Author: Brianna Robles

Brianna Robles is a Brooklyn, NY based freelance writer and journalist specializing in sharing stories about mental health and spectacular women.
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