MANILA, Philippines - Born from the simple idea of opening a bar where people can hangout after work, Gerry’s Restaurant and Bar quickly expanded to becoming a homegrown favorite 20 years on.
It all started on Valentine’s Day in 1997.
“The first Gerry’s branch opened in Tomas Morato cor, E. Lopez Street,” shares Gerry’s Grill senior marketing manager Francis Villaluz. He says that since the restaurant opened, it has been continuously enjoying the support of its patrons and new customers.
With the initial concept being a “bar and grill” – specializing on grilled fare such as Inihaw na Pusit, Blue Marlin Steak, Tuna Belly and Liempo, as well as dishes like Sizzling Sisig, Gambas,and Bangus Ala Pobre, Gerry’s quickly became top of mind for popular resto-bars in the country.
“Our first customers were working professionals from offices and establishments around Tomas Morato (like ABS-CBN, GMA, Quezon City Hall, and St. Luke’s) then those customers who visited us on weekdays to unwind, started bringing their families during the weekends,” says Villaluz.
Through the years, Villaluz shares that the brand has been steadily evolving to meet its market’s demands and stay ahead of the competition.
“Every aspect of the restaurant has been improved in one way or another, it’s only the taste of the food that has remained constant. Ambiance, services and food offered would be the top items that have undergone several changes in the past 20 years,” he elaborates.
He adds, “Gerry’s became popular because of our grilled seafood and sisig and the items were more pulutan than ulam. Due to the change in customer profile (families with kids), we tried to provide something for everyone like Fried Chicken, Lumpiang Shanghai, Garlic Adobo Shreds, Chicken Kebabs, etc. We keep our choices mainly traditional with a regional representation in the menu.”
Aside from variety, Villaluz says that their accessibility, reasonable pricing and relaxed ambiance contribute to the resto-bar’s unfaltering popularity. “We listened closely to our customers and innovated accordingly to their needs. Variety of food and drinks we served and value for money pricing, I think gave us our early success and we maintain this philosophy.”
According to Villaluz, crowd favorites continue to be the Sizzling Sisig, Crispy Pata, Beef Kare Kare, Inihaw na Pusit, Sinigang na Hipon, Nilagang Bulalo while their Pinakbet, to their surprise as it’s a vegetable dish, is also a favorite among customers.
Looking back on the past 20 years that they have been doing great business, Villaluz beams with pride at how far Gerry’s has grown – from that branch in Tomas Morato, the brand is now close to a hundred branches with even a few located in Singapore, the US and Qatar.
“We opened at a time when the restaurant industry was growing rapidly and competition was very tough, not only from local and regional players but from international as well. The longevity and staying power of the brand I believe is what we are most proud of,” ends Villaluz.