Traveling north? You might want to visit the nearest SM Malls and discover these restaurants, bakeshop, and cafés offering homegrown specialties rarely found elsewhere.
Point and Grill
“You’re like in a one-stop shop, traveling to different destinations, at an affordable price,” describes Kimberly Rodriguez del Rosario, COO of Point and Grill Restaurants.
Originally from Pampanga, Del Rosario shared her parents’ interest in food and wanted to bring the taste of their hometown to Baguio, establishing Point and Grill.
As the name itself suggests, the restaurant serves authentic Filipino cuisine at a leisurely pace.
“All the food that you see is cooked from scratch,” said the 30-year-old business owner.
Sauces and raw ingredients are simmered and slow-cooked to achieve the “lutong bahay, except that you’re inside the mall,” experience.
Food businesses are nothing new, but what made Point and Grill gain its loyal customers throughout the years, aside from the savory menu, are its budget-friendly meals.
Among its original offerings were a combo of whole chicken and bilao ng pansit. Also, their special barbecue is made from an heirloom recipe.
Among its bestsellers in SM Cabanatuan areChicken Pinikpikan, Vigan Longganisa, Crispy Pork Sisig, and Baby Back Beef Ribs, which are all under P200 per meal.
Point and Grill also offers “Piso rice.” “We want to tell the public that their peso still has value,” said the COO.
Bringing the diverse tastes of Filipino food to Northern and Central Luzon, with its limited yet growing number of branches, the restaurant adapts the local food of each branch to expand its menu and bring the cuisine from other provinces closer to Filipinos.
“When you’re in Point and Grill, you feel at home, but then you feel like you’re traveling to different places in the Philippines.”
Visit Point and Grill at Session Road, Baguio; SM Center Dagupan; SM City Rosales, Pangasinan; SM City Urdaneta, Pangasinan and SM Tarlac.
Harvest Cafe & Bistro
In Nueva Ecija, there’s a small social enterprise that brings appetizing frappes and food that will surely complete a northern trip.
Established on 28 October 2017 in Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija, Harvest Café is known for the Harvest Big Shack Burger, a nine-inch burger with a double patty that is equivalent to 1.2 kilograms.
“Our patties, our bestsellers, kami rin ang gumagawa talaga (we really make it ourselves). It’s our recipe,” Mavi Ordonez, store manager of Harvest Cafe & Bistro, proudly said.
Also look for the Happiness And Goodness Trio: “May sandwich cassette ka na, may pika-pika ka na (which is the) all-time favorite,” Ordonez said.
Harvest Café & Bistro also believes in food for the soul: “Sow kindness, reap happiness,” as it supports 20 scholars from kindergarten to college through its ‘five pesos in a cup’ campaign.
When asked why they named it “Harvest,” Ordonez shared that it is originally from her sister, Cathay Ordonez, the owner of the café. “Kapag nagtanim ka, ang
iha-harvest po natin ay yung good karma (When you plant goodness, you harvest good karma).”
In 2019, the business was hailed as Most Outstanding & Innovative Café Restaurant in Nueva Ecija.
Find it in Zaragoza, SM City Cabanatuan, Aliaga, and Mercato Circuit Makati.
Residents of Cabanatuan in Nueva Ecija know Edna’s Cakeland brought the province its own range of pastries and delicacies that satisfies the sweet taste buds of Filipinos.
“We don’t want to compete with other big shops, or competitors like Conti’s and Mary Grace. We just want people to know Edna’s Cakeland as Edna’s Cakeland in Cabanatuan,” Jayson Arenas, HR manager, said.
“We are known for our cheese rolls, and we started from that,” he added.
Edna’s Cakeland eventually grew bigger and currently offers cakes, pies, cupcakes, etc.
In 1996, Herminio and Edna Gonzales have four branches in North Luzon; SM Megacenter; SM City Cabanatuan; Angeles, Pampanga; and its main branch Kapitan Pepe Subdivision, Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija.
A food crawl shouldn’t end without a taste of coffee.
The Coffee Lounge came about because Jacqueline Ausa and her husband were looking for a place where they could unwind.
Despite being the only branch in the Philippines, and located in SM City Rosales, Pampanga, The Coffee Lounge is loved by customers due to its affordable coffee and pastries.
Coffee and non-coffee-based drinks at The Coffee Lounge are priced from P90 to P155, plus a free refill of Americano.
Ausa said they created a menu unique to the place. Try their Toffee Nut Cafe Latte and Iced Mestiza Cold Brew. Bestseller is Matcha over iced tea and Matcha Latte.
Rooted by their Christian faith, owners of The Coffee Lounge provided free brewed coffee to frontliners, and donated 50 percent of their profits to the victims of Typhoon “Ulysses” in Sipalay, Negros Occidental.
Ausa described The Coffee Lounge as a place to “awaken your senses.” With coffee and their mission to discipline people, that is how they built The Coffee Lounge from scratch.
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