A restaurant is different from a café. When you want to sit down to a truly satisfying full meal, you usually go to a restaurant. When you feel like chilling out with a cup of hot, freshly brewed coffee or a tall glass of smoothie, with pasta, perhaps a sandwich or some pastries, you head for a café and indulge your cravings. A restaurant is a restaurant, and a café is a café. Like Kuya J is a restaurant and not a café. Right? Wrong.
Kuya J is known to be a casual dining restaurant that specializes in Filipino comfort food. It is where you will find familiar Pinoy dishes such as pinakbet, relyenong talong, sinigang, bulalo, crispy pata, lechon kawali, kare-kare, dinuguan with puto, pancit canton, sisig, pochero and leche flan. Originally a hole-in-the-wall eatery that evolved into a mainstream restaurant in Cebu, it ventured into Metro Manila and grew rapidly to 100 stores in its first two years in the big city. It continues to grow now, not only in terms of number of stores but also in its evolution.
Just recently, before 2019 ended, Kuya J launched its first Kuya J Café at Park Square, Makati City. Yes, the restaurant is now a café, as well. It marries casual dining with a relaxing ambiance that’s perfect both for unwinding with friends over a cup — or glass! — of coffee and pastries and for having a grand meal with family.
“Kuya J Café offers the best of both worlds. Aside from specially brewed coffee and delicious pastries, we also serve the well-loved Kuya J signature dishes. It is a place where you can either sit back and take a sip of your go-to comfort drink or enjoy a sumptuous dinner with your family,” explains Francis Reyes, chief financial officer (CFO) of the Kuya J Group.
Being the first Kuya J store brandishing the café concept, Kuya J Café at Park Square has cozy interiors with a homey vibe that entices guests to come in, sit back and relax, and enjoy their food and drinks as though they’re home. And because it is a café, it serves classic coffee concoctions as well as its own coffee blends and brews. The divine aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafts in the air constantly, and the bold flavors tease the palate and coat it with a comforting warmth. Adventurous palates are in for a surprise with such exciting concoctions as sago’t gulaman coffee and tablea coffee.
To pair up with these unique and palate-pleasing coffee concoctions, Kuya J Café has come up with a range of unique and delectable pastries exclusive to the café, including guava cake, salted egg cheesecake, bibingka muffins with caramel drizzle, tablea cake and calamansi muffins with whipped cream topping. It also offers classic café eats, such as banana bread and ensaymada, as well as an “elevated” version of a bakery staple, Pan de Coco.
Since Kuya J began as a restaurant, this first Kuya J Café has incorporated Kuya J Restaurant best-sellers into its menu and offers these in single servings so guests who crave for them can enjoy them, too. These include grilled scallops, beef caldereta, and Chorizo Dinamitas. This is one of the instances when the café remains a café but extends into the restaurant that Kuya J is known for, as well. The Filipino comfort food that it is most popular for are all accounted for in the café.
Kuya J Café’s formal opening was graced by celebrity endorser Jericho Rosales, who also led a motorcade that went around Park Square as part of the launching ceremonies. Welcoming him and other guests were Kuya J’s top brass, including Kuya J chief operating officer Richard Joseph Li, Kuya J Group CFO Francis Reyes and Kuya J marketing director Ton Gatmaitan.