It’s been just over a week since we rushed the opening of our second outlet, a smaller, more take-out oriented Zubuchon at the new Escario Building near the provincial capitol building. We started off with a very limited menu, and our tiny kitchen here (totally open and WITHOUT gas burners) with only a couple of induction stoves means we can’t serve the full range of dishes that we offer at our Mango Avenue branch… But we are slowly finding our stride and we are amazed by the number of customers coming to give the new place a try… In our first week, we had the Cebu City Mayor walk in unannounced just before closing, to enjoy a meal. A few days later, the Governor dropped by to eat our lechon, not the first time she’s had it apparently. So I guess things are going very well. The most amazing patrons, however, are the folks that seem to have returned not once or twice or even thrice, but several more times in just our first month of operations. We are also thrilled to have served many a tourist (local and foreign) seeking to enjoy some Cebu lechon, without having to order a whole one. Maraming, maraming salamat sa inyong lahat!
Our Escario outlet is even tinier at 36m2 (including the washroom!) than our first restaurant on Mango Avenue. Originally envisioned as a Zubuchon “X” outlet, this small modern space was, I thought, the place for me to experiment with new dishes, to offer lechon in a new light, in different, possibly fusion-like states. I still want to experiment with more sandwiches, push our pastas, build a breakfast menu, perhaps even a Ceasar salad topped with fried lechon flakes instead of bacon, offer the confit of adobo, etc. This was to be “the laboratory”, the place to experiment, and for marketmanila readers to drop by and occasionally find me behind the counter, trying something new… But right now we are busy just serving up our basic dishes and still getting our acts together! And before the dust has settled here, we are being offered interesting new locations to open future branches if it seems like that makes sense and we haven’t lost our sense of humor yet… :)
The aesthetics are anchored on the same principles as our first branch, a very clean, modern look, a lot of grey, stainless steel, glass, white and red accents. The store is brightly lit, and we are thrilled with the small frontage facing the busy Escario thoroughfare. We have gotten a lot of positive comments about the setting, and hopefully we impress on the food and service the vast majority of the time, though we are no where near where we would like to settle at… Frankly, I think we thought “too small” and our stores just don’t seem designed for large groups of people, the sort of “village comes to dine all at once syndrome” still prevalent in local dining… Now I know why other restaurants seem way too big and are empty 90% of the time, they are designed to capture the frenzied two hours at lunch time and the same period at dinnertime… We are learning as we go along, of course all at what seems like warp speed to us…
The centrally positioned glass showcase features our lechons, and you can watch as the lechon is chopped up… Freshly cooked lechons are typically delivered at 11am and again at 5:30pm and while gauging demand is still dicey for us at this point, we do try to have fresh lechon up until about 8pm, far later than many of our competitors who seem content to run out of stock by 5:30-6:00 p.m. on most nights. We do appreciate it when clients give us advance notice on big orders, like this morning for example, when we filled an order for 55 lechon meals for takeout! The more neighboring offices, institutions, hospitals, call centers, etc. start to order in this manner, for meetings, birthdays, promotions, births, etc., the more our original view for the restaurant as a take out place becomes a reality, but we also serve meals in-house. Two photos up, chinese take out boxes filled withs lechon sisig rice which we sold below cost at PHP39 on our first day. We sold several hundred. :)
The Escario store also has a full line of our frozen and refrigerated Zubuchon products, so please feel free to drop by and load up on “pasalubong” goodies that we can package in boxes just prior to your trip back to Manila, your home province or elsewhere in the world. We don’t recommend it, but it seems our lechons have crossed borders and reached Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, etc. :)
Zubuchon Escario Branch
731 Escario Street
corner Clavano Street