Two and a half years ago, we opened our sit-down restaurant called Wooden Spoon on Katipunan in Quezon City. I had just arrived from Canada, where I spent 10 years as an immigrant with my family.
I was not exactly oozing with confidence over this new venture. In Vancouver, my restaurant, Sandy’s Cuisine, fared poorly. My plans were to do a TV show in Canada, make a name for myself and eventually open my own fast-food restaurant.
As planned, the show aired the entire time I was there, and after six years, my restaurant opened. But God had other plans. I was the waiter, busboy, cashier, marketer and everything else. I got very tired. I had to sell the place eventually, at a loss. It was a very humbling experience.
After the family had moved back, I set my eyes on opening a sit-down restaurant. You see, I believe my parents separated because of this very taxing business. Serving lunch and dinner is quality time away from the family. So, when I got married, I decided to set up fast-food businesses instead while the kids were small. I believe I did OK then.
Fast forward to 2010, since our kids were already grownups, it was time to fulfill my dream. By God’s grace, I found a business partner and our Katipunan branch was born.
Since I also write restaurant reviews or food reviews in this space, I have been able to observe many food businesses—what concept works, which cuisine makes an impact, will they last long, etc.
Armed with this experience, I felt I knew what the market wanted. I came to the conclusion that Filipinos go for Philippine cuisine as long as the prices are reasonable. Learning from all the delicious food I have tried and the dining standard I have experienced, we set up Wooden Spoon in Katipunan.
Today, my food show, “Food Prints,” also allows me to try delicious dishes all over the country. It has blessed me with new ideas for our restaurant menu. Now, where else could a blessing like this come from but above? To me, it’s not work at all.
In our first restaurant, we targeted not the students but rather the community around as our market. The place soon became a success.
On the menu are a few family recipes, while the rest are my own versions of Pinoy classics. We like to define our cuisine as “familiar flavors, unusual dishes.”
Since I believe everyone loves surprises, we try to do the same with food. You don’t know what to expect, and you’ll be surprised to try something new and tasty.
With the success of our Katipunan restaurant, our second, this time at Rockwell at the Power Plant Mall, was born after a year and a half. It’s also been doing quite well, and we are very happy to see mostly pleased diners.
We are far from perfect, but most of those who have eaten say they enjoy the food. I kid our customers, “We’re here to break your diet.”
Then, a year and two months after our Rockwell opening, we opened our largest—and people say the nicest—branch in Kapitolyo Pasig. The branch is not as well known yet as the other two, but again, with God’s grace, we pray it will also make an impact on the community.
Many people have told me, “Your restaurant will be a success because people see you on TV, and you have the image of having good food.”
I admit to that advantage, but the food has to speak for itself, or that’s all it’ll be—an image.
I would like to invite you to try my recipes, hopefully break your diet and leave the restaurant with a smile. The moment our diners come back with their loved ones, that’s a sign that they enjoy their dining experience.
I hope our food makes you think of your loved ones.
I pray that our new baby in Pasig will follow in the footsteps of its older counterparts in Katipunan and Rockwell.
Wooden Spoon Pasig is at 67 West Drive, Barrio Kapitolyo, Tel. 0917-8364998
Delicious and Juicy Davao pomelo from Mati, tel. 7091627 and 0917-5937450
Read the author’s blog: sandydaza.blogspot.com; follow on Twitter: @sandydaza