Lamp Quarters Brightens Up Marikina’s Sparkling Food Haven
Share article on:
It took a while for the owners of Lamp Quarters to complete the eight restaurants that will occupy its air-conditioned and fine dining spaces in the posh site along Gil Fernando St., which has become one of the coveted streets in Marikina for food lovers and enthusiasts.
“The space now occupied by Tongara Ramen has been vacant for months since we opened. We took our time in choosing the tenant. For us, it’s not just about getting the money and leasing it out. It’s about choosing the right restaurant that can coexist with each other and be successful together,” says Myla Gonzalez, one of the three owners of Lamp Quarters.
Aside from making sure that the tenants will blend perfectly, the owners want to make sure that the food they will serve will not all be the same.
“We tried to manage overlaps,” says Dotie Cleofas, another owner of Lamp Quarters. “Of course in some cases, there are small overlaps but their specialties are really distinct. We want all the merchants to earn. We don’t want our customers to come here and find out all of our tenants are serving the same food.”
Because Lamp Quarters aims to become the place to be for families to dine, wine, enjoy and unwind especially on weekends, Myla and Dottie say they choose the restaurants that will provide the variety that a group of families and friends are looking for in just one destination.
There were a lot of restaurants that wanted to lease spaces in Lamp Quarters. But the owners took their time and screened prospective tenants well, while the others were personally picked by them.
“The most important thing for us is to choose a restaurant that we ourselves patronize, whose food we really love. That’s our main objective,” says Myla.
After months of searching, the owners finally settled on the eight restaurants that serve their own unique dishes and are occupying different dining places within Lamp Quarters, which opened its doors October of last year:
-Ahlee’s is known for its steaks and ribs
-Bubba Lab Finest has teas, juices and coffee varieties.
-Chives Market is a French bistro serving not only French dishes but also Filipino food cooked using French techniques. It also sells items made by artists.
-Dong Juan is famous for American and Italian cuisine such as burgers, pizzas and pastas.
-Mehana specializes on Bulgarain cuisine cooked and prepared by its Bulgarian owner. It is the first Bulgarian restaurant in the country and is known for its tasty sausages.
-Silyo Dmiela caters to those craving for Kapampangan dishes such as its famous sisig.
-Tongara Ramen serves authentic Japanese ramen.
-Wingfather Wings and Booze is known for its chicken wings and a variety of drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
These are all homegrown Filipino restaurants. Some of them are from Marikina, others from nearby Antipolo or Quezon City. The owners avoided restaurants that are found in almost every corner of Metro Manila and in shopping malls.
Lamp Quarters was borne out of the desire of the owners to have a special dining place in Marikina so that Marikenos no longer have to drive outside of the city just to satisfy their food cravings and have a great time with family and friends, especially during weekends, holidays and to celebrate special occasions.
“We have lots of friends here who don’t want to go all the way to Ortigas or Makati because of the traffic,” says Dotie.
The Millenials who obviously want to go out every now and then are also a consideration.
“We also want to provide a place where the young ones can hang out so that they don’t have to go out of Marikina to have fun. This way, their parents no longer have to be worried because they are staying out nearby," say Dotie.
Lamp Quarters is owned by three couples -- Myla and her husband Louie, Dotie and her husband Dindo and Marite and her husband Emerson Arreza. Emerson, an architect, designed the whole place, inspired by the Gaslamp Quarter, a dining and shopping district in downtown San Diego, California, famous for its nightlife and is full of restaurants, bars, Victorian-era buildings, shops, galleries, boutiques and a lot more.
It was Myla's idea to put up something like a Gaslamp Quarter dining area in Marikina after she visited the place.
“We wanted somehow to replicate that here,” says Myla. “You know the Marikenos love to eat and they are very loyal to Marikina. So we said to ourselves, why not build something that Marikenos will be proud of. Something that’s at par with what you can find in central business districts around Metro Manila.”
Aside from its rows of restaurants, shaped like a “U”, there is a courtyard at the center with tables and chairs where diners can eat out, especially at night when it is breezy, for a more romantic vibe. Most of the activities in Lamp Quarters such as live performances by singers and musicians are held here. Last Christmas, there was a Sta. Claus here whose photo was the most sought after especially by the children.
Last Mother’s Day, the Marikina Youth Orchestra from the Music Studio, serenaded not only mothers but all the customers. On Valentine’s day, it was an all-male acapella group who made hearts swoon and flowers bloom.
The courtyard, with its lush plants and blooms, has become a favorite spot for families who crave for their own gardens at home where they can have dinners from time to time.
Don’t be deceived by its classy, fine dining ambience, eating out at any of the restaurants in Lamp Quarters is easy on the budget. A complete meal can cost between P250 to P350 with drinks. The place also offers special lunches priced at around P155 to P220, which is a steal given such surroundings.
Aside from the restaurants -- which have gained popularity in Metro Manila in less than a year of operations, with diners from as far as Paranaque and Makati braving the traffics just to experience it – Lamp Quarters plans to open up personal services shops on the second floor such as beauty and barber salons, laundry shops and even pet grooming salons.
The second floor is expected to be operational this October, when Lamp Quarters celebrates its first year anniversary.
Sense of Fulfilment
Myla and Dottie, who left the corporate world to balance their time taking care of their families and indulging in their passions, are very satisfied with how Lamp Quarters is doing.
“It’s very heartening to hear people say they came all the way from the South or from Commonwealth (in Quezon City) just to experience dining here. It’s very fulfilling to see people enjoying our food together with their families and even with their pets. This is exactly how we envisioned it to be,” says Myla, who used to be a marketing executive for banks and insurers.
“We left our jobs because we want a better quality of life,” says Dottie, who used to work as a retail merchandiser, product manager and buyer. “One thing that makes us feel good is that we are able to extend that better quality of life to our patrons here. We offer something that’s worth their and their families’ time.”
Gil Fernando St., Centro De Buenviaje, Sto. Niño, Marikina
0917 652 0324
Sunday to Thursday : 11am to 11pm
Friday and Saturday: 11am to 1am
For more about Lamp Quarters, please check out its Facebook page:
Share article on: