A café that serves meals

Text and photos by Henrylito D. Tacio
It used to be known as James and Jay Bulaloan, whose specialty was that light colored soup made from beef shanks and marrow. But when one of the owners passed away, business was not that good anymore. A little over a year, it was ultimately closed. Then, Anthony “Tony” Uy saw the vacant area, which was located at the ground floor of Roseco Building in Guerrero Street. He talked with his wife, Diane, and decided to make it what it is now: Caffe’ Antoccino. “Actually, we wanted to name it after my mother but the Department of Trade and Industry told us that the name was already taken,” Tony recalled on how he got the name. “So, we went online looking for coffee names and stumbled on Caffe’ Antoccino. It kind of rhymes with my name and at the same time the abbreviations are both my wife’s and mine’s, so we applied for it and the rest is history.” If you are looking for great coffee, then Caffe’ Antoccino is the place to go. “We serve Italian coffee beans on our store front,” Tony said. “Even on our blended drinks, we don’t use other type of beans to preserve the quality and consistency, which I myself would expect in a coffee shop.” According to Tony, they get their imported Italian coffee from local suppliers who are consistent and dependable on their deliveries. But coffee is the not only stuff they serve but food and cheese cakes, too. “While we were conducting our feasibility study,” Tony said, “we concluded that selling coffee may be a good idea but it wouldn’t be enough since our space is a little bigger than an average café, so we went ahead and added food entries into our menu.” Among the food, the bestsellers are the following: Norwegian pink salmon steak, blue marlin steak, baby back ribs, chicken parmigiana pasta, muchos nachos, and pumpkin soup. “We often get groups of friends and families in our cafe so we offer a good sized, affordable appetizer that are appealing, regardless of their age and palate,” Tony said. Take the case of muchos nachos. “They are tasty and crunchy, with seasoned ground beef, melted taco cheese, vegetables and ranch dressing. You will surely drool for more,” he pointed out. Another is the clubhouse fingers: “Healthy, whole wheat bread with ham, egg and dressings, together with fries on the side, this sandwich entry will surely be enough to share for merienda or snack.” A must: beef short ribs with olive and orange sauce. “Carefully selected beef short ribs cooked with spices and herbs, this entry is sumptuous enough to satisfy your craving for a heavy meal,” Tony said. He added: “We always try to serve the best natural ingredients we can find in the market, even if we have to ship them from outside of the country. We want to give the very best to our customers. We care for the health of our customers as well.” For cheese cakes, they have twelve flavors: Oreo, NY brulee, salted caramel, green tea pistachio, chocoholic Oreo, Bailey’s cream, nut butter, strawberry walnut, wild berry, chocolate chip, chocolate mousse and choco vanilla swirl. “These are all baked, made with the finest ingredients without any preservatives or extenders. We don’t mix them with flour; no whipped cream and no gelatin added,” Tony said. Aside from cheese cakes, they also offer pastry macadamia pie. “It is made with almond crust, organic coco sugar and whole macadamia nuts,” he said. It is also a bestseller which is often brought to Manila and other parts of Mindanao. Caffe’ Antoccino opened last year and people who have been to the place keep coming back. “Good compliments from new and returning customers are what make us to become better,” Tony said. “Friendly comments and reminders from them make us learn and grow every day. The satisfaction of our customers once they enter the Caffe is very important to us.” It was actually the idea of his wife to have a café-cum-restaurant. His wife Diane has a Bachelor of Business degree with marketing major from the Ateneo de Davao University. Tony, on the other hand, has a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix in the United States. Tony spent seven years in the US then came home in mid-2004. He met his future wife when she worked with his sister in a bank. “And things worked out from there,” he said. The couple has two handsome kids. Tony is thinking of living in Davao City for good. “I was born here and my family plans to retire here, too,” he admitted. “So, yes, I am considering that awesome choice. Plus, Davao City is the best city in the Philippines and I wouldn’t replace that privilege of being born and living here.” Now, are you planning on going to Caffe’ Antoccino soon? Here are some ideas. On weekdays, lunch and dinner are busy mostly from students and those coming from offices. On weekends, family and friends dine to get together. Tony credits his wife for keeping the business going. “She is just awesome and regardless of how hard it is to start this type of business from scratch, she always has the positive attitude to strive for more customer satisfaction,” Tony said of his beautiful wife.

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