TEXT AND PHOTOS BY HENRYLITO D. TACIO
“More than just the delectable food, the service was like no other. As it was raining, the guard was quick to meet us with a huge umbrella to keep us dry. Overall, an excellent dining place whose prices do not break the bank,” said one satisfied customer.
Another one wrote: “I can’t wait to try the rest of the menu. Not to the mention the cozy and well-lit space. (It has) a homey feel ambiance.”
Both are referring to Caffé Antoccino, which is located at the ground floor of the Roseco Building in Guerrero Street in Davao City. 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. 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 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 a 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 coffee from local suppliers who are consistent and dependable on their deliveries.
But coffee is the not only stuff they serve, but foodies 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 foodies, 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 pallet,” 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.
He further explained: “We emphasize on the flavor on each of our cheesecake. We baked and gauged them personally; we produce each cheesecake with certainty that it will never be too sweet than its flavor.”
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 yet. And people who have been to the place are coming. “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 of coming 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 plants 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 of 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.
June 2016 Health and Lifestyle