Saturday, June 1, 2013

Barrio Bistro: Davao's homegrown restaurant

"Barrio Bistro: Davao’s homegrown restaurant"
Sun.Star Davao, June 1, 2013

Who would have thought that Barrio Bistro, one of Davao’s homegrown restaurants, was conceptualized during a family meal?

In 2010, Engr. Ricardo “Bong” Cañete and his then high school student son Gian were having dinner when they talked about the idea of putting up a restaurant.

“Our vision was to have a restaurant which will serve affordable but quality comfort food. We decided on the name Barrio Bistro and reserved it online with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) the same evening”, shares Bong, a BS Mechanical Engineering graduate of De La Salle University (DLSU).

“Since our main outlet is located in Barrio Obrero, we adopted the barrio name. I grew up here and have fond memories of the old Obrero which is a fry cry from what it has become now. Bistro means “an unpretentious and casual dining place”, contrary to what most people think. We want to have an atmosphere of a close-knit community just like in the old barrio - personal, friendly and relaxed”, describes the father of two.

Homegrown franchise

Bong and his family decided to construct the restaurant in their own property in Barrio Obrero so they could still rent the space out in case their business will not take off.

While construction was on-going, the creative Bong developed his signature lip-smacking pizza, which is one of Barrio Bistro’s bestsellers. The rest of the items in their initial menu came from Bong’s mother’s favorite recipes. Eventually, they also hired professionals so they could further improve their food and operations,

When Bong and his son initially brainstormed about Barrio Bistro, they already planned to replicate it in other locations in the future so they adopted the franchise business model.

In a span of three years, Bong and his son Gian (now a 3rd year BS Biochemistry college student at DLSU) has achieved their dream of going into franchising.

“Our first franchised outlet located along Duterte St. opened last January 2013 and is operated by Vincent Gumapac. On the other hand, last May 21, 2013, Barrio Bistro’s second franchised outlet started its operations on May 21, 2013 at Damosa Gateway by young entrepreneurs Carlo Altavas, Christopher Tan and Van Uyking”, enthuses Bong. 

‘Buy 1, take 1 pizzas’ and more

Barrio Bistro has a variety of food choices one can have anytime of the day like breakfast meals, set meals, pizza, pasta, sandwiches and food platters. The items in their menu are suitable for the solo diner or groups like families, barkadas, and corporate groups.

"The bestseller is our thin crust pizza. We have 11 delectable flavors, the most popular of which are the Barrio Pizza and the Three Cheese. We sell them ‘Buy 1, Take 1’ all day, including take out and deliveries. I believe we are the only establishment in Davao to offer such a promo for pizzas”, states Bong proudly.
Aside from their signature pizzas, other family favorites include their mouthwatering BB Back Ribs, Crispy Dinuguan, Barrio Fried Chicken, Crispy Pork Belly, Spicy Pork Ribs set meals, Thai Pomelo Salad and rice platters like Bulad Rice and Tuna Fried Rice. The restaurant also has the Sate Seafood Noodle Soup, a spicy concoction of Indonesian spices which is an original recipe of Bong’s mother.
Davao’s brand of hospitality

The positive response of Barrio Bistro’s patrons has inspired Bong more in his endeavor. He assures that the restaurant will always be around to give value-for-money food and service to Dabawenyos and out-of-town guests.

“Barrio Bistro will continuously innovate and develop new food items in addition to maintaining our quality and service. We seek suggestions and discuss with friends and franchisees on effective ways to improve our brand. The management is also committed to increase our branches through qualified franchisees in order for us to make our presence felt in the market. At this stage, I am already looking at the possibilities of opening outlets outside Davao”, Bong divulges.

“Davao has always been known to offer delicious and affordable food. A number of visitors consider Davao as a food haven and I am proud that Barrio Bistro is part of it. Being a true Dabawenyo, I am happy that Barrio Bistro can share the Davao brand of hospitality to other areas in the future!”, smiles Bong.

Barrio Bistro is located at 45 Lacson St., Bo. Obrero, D.C./Tel. 2223366/9225353006; Duterte St., beside Bagobo Hotel/Tel. 2852222; and Damosa Gateway, Lanang/Tel.  3053535.

Obrero and Duterte: Open daily from 10am to 10pm; Damosa Gateway: Sunday to Thursday, 10am to 10pm; and Friday and Saturday 10am to 2am.

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