Friday, November 27, 2009

From an old house to a new restaurant

By Karen Lapitan
Inquirer Southern Luzon

Posted date: November 26, 2009

PAGSANJAN, LAGUNA— For love of food, a man and his wife here turned their ancestral house into a restaurant, using heirloom such as sets of silverware and plates to serve customers.

“At first, we wanted a small and simple business because we both love food,” says Anna Cabrega, the town’s current council secretary.

Her husband Ronald has been in the food industry for 12 years, and has cooked for a number of popular restaurants.

In 2006, the couple started serving snacks for residents of Pagsanjan right on their Rizal Street property, which they soon called Calle Arco.

The restaurant is located near the famous Pagsanjan Arc at the town’s entrance, hence, the name of the establishment.

Soon, demand pushed the couple to turn their small enterprise into a serious restaurant venture.

“We never thought Calle Arco would become famous,” she says.

Asked on what made their food business a success, Anna cited that it could be their family’s love for entertaining guests.

“Love for food is a given factor, but the difference lies in how you treat customers. In our case, we treat them as if they are visitors to our home,” says Anna. “That habit of entertaining guests was actually derived from my grandmother who owned this house. She loved cooking for guests.”

When the Cabregas started out, they used the utensils that Anna’s grandmother stored in the house.

Even the tables and chairs were not new when Calle Arco opened as a 20-seater restaurant.

The couple also improved on the menu over the years. From mere snacks and pasta dishes, the Cabregas now serve breakfast, lunch and dinner fares.

Calle Arco is popular for its Sinigang na Baka na may Langka. She says that the dish is the one enticing more people to eat at their place.

Later, Calle Arco’s reputation crossed the town’s boundaries.

“Our past and returning clients are doing their part. They would recommend our restaurant to [other people],” says Anna, who remains gratified with the feedback they get from tourists.

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