by Emily Dobby
As Dorothy famously said, “there’s no place like home.” In Victoria, the newly opened restaurant Friends of Dorothy is just that — home — for the queer community and allies alike.
The yellow brick road to opening the restaurant in Victoria was paved from Kelowna where the first Friends of Dorothy lounge was founded and launched by former developer, Rudy Tomazic. It was originally named after Tomazic’s beloved aunt Dorothy and is a tip of the hat to the WWII euphemism “friend of Dorothy” which was used to discreetly “out” oneself without fear of discrimination during a time when homosexual acts were illegal.
“There’s no judgement here, so this is a safe space. It’s zany and fun,” says Tomazic, while sipping coffee in the bright and lushly decorated space.
The Victoria location, which opened in mid December in the former Willie’s Bakery address (at 537 Johnson Street), features a delectable and seasonally rotating menu, signature cocktails, mocktails, local wine, craft beer and spirits. The décor is punk chic meets Louis XIV housed in a 140 year old building.
Clients are looking forward to happy hour cocktails and tasty nibbles, drag performances, live music and comedy shows (via livestream until restrictions are lifted).
“By enabling a full kitchen, it allows us to be open 9am to 10pm, unlike most queer spaces which are open at night,” noted Tomazic as he glanced around at the bustling brunch crowd.
In spite of opening two months before a global pandemic, Friends of Dorothy has enjoyed a steady trade while adhering to COVID 19 public health guidelines, through an adapted business model and a community of supportive patrons.
Tomazic plans to build a national FOD brand and is opening locations in Gas Town and Nanaimo next. His aim is to offer LGBT2Q+ communities across Canada a consistently delightful and welcoming experience.
It sure is a delight!
Follow the yellow brick road to #FODlounge on social media.
Check out Friends of Dorothy: https://www.fodlounge.com/victoria/