Side dish: Big time

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Friday, August 29, 2014

What once was just a post-college business concept turned out to be bigger than what its owners imagined. When Bigby’s Cafe and Restaurant was launched in Cagayan De Oro (CDO) City back in 1998, it was some sort of remedy for its owners, to provide themselves with a venue where they can partake of some international-inspired comfort food that was then uncommon.

Since then and at present, the brand has seven branches all over the Visayas-Mindanao regions of the country. And the first one the proprietors opened outside of its homebase was here in Cebu, back in Aug.18, 2001.

On the same day this year, CDO-based restaurant Bigby’s, celebrated its 13th anniversary here in Cebu, with a relaunching of its brand. Proprietors Henrik and Joanna Yu; and Cathy Genabe were in town Monday, to meet guests and the local press at Bigby’s in its new and hip location. The new address is now situated at the second level of TheTerraces, Ayala Center Cebu beside Bonchon. Indeed at first glance, this new step proves to be a revival. It’s quite the same Bigby’s people have come to love through the years, but the place looks as fun as ever.


The new place, sports more vibrant colors with a mix of reds, blues and yellows, giving up its former concept that stuck to more earthy tones. But despite the new look, Bigby’s still serves up the same old favorites on its menu. The Kimmy’s Chunky Stew, introduced as a special on the menu for its first Father’s Day treat in 1999 in CDO, is back in its original form: as a rice topping in a bowl. Its popular grilled chicken with Ceasar dressing sandwich, the Chicken Julius, is also available. Bigby’s version of tonkatsu, Tsunami Chops, is also back, to the delight of patrons. Other notable dishes are the Pescado al Fresco, Sinuglaw and Don Pepito Fajitas.

Through the years, the restaurant has stood strong against the tides of different trends and has remained an absolute constant in the Cebu food scene. It has blended well, and in fact, a few locals have made assumptions that the restaurant is a Cebuano brand, when the facts tell otherwise.

But according to Henrik, the closely-similar traits of locals from both CDO and Cebu can be attributed for the restaurant’s success here particularly in Cebu City. “I think both cities are laid-back. Generally when it comes to our food, we just want it straight-forward; none of the fancy stuff. Also, we want to get our value for our money,” he says.

And that’s why, if there’s one thing that Bigby’s wanted to communicate to customers, its that they serve up big servings of the items on its menu. The name in fact, according to Henrik, is centered upon the idea that the restaurant should serve “big.” It’s something that the restaurant tries to sustain year after year.

Perhaps, this here’s the reason why Bigby’s is one of the more celebrated restaurants here in Cebu. A touch of class, a whole dash of new colors and numerous options of huge and great tasting dishes, these things pack your peso with a strong punch.
Bigby’s, aboard a system of success, only looks forward to the future; while taking care of its present, and graciously celebrating its past.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 30, 2014.


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