Pan de Amerikana, a Restaurant Rooted on a Bakeshop
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Eclectic is the first word that comes to mind once you step inside Pan de Amerikana. Outside, there is a not-to-be-missed windmill, a boat on top of a tree and a hanging bridge.
Inside is a collection of the owners’ antiques and souvenirs from their travels around the world. On one wall are old black and white photographs of Filipino actors and actresses, while antique typewriters, furniture, electric fans are on display.
There’s an old horse-drawn carriage minus the horse that’s also on display, a piano, a miniature water falls, a giant chess board and the couple’s collection of chess boards from abroad. The restaurant is a museum of sorts, silent witnesses to the eras gone by.
The restaurant is airy, all 700 square meters and can sit up to 300 persons. What makes it even unique is that it is not airconditioned since the owners – Mr. and Mrs. Jundio and Rosie Salvador – want to maintain the provincial look of the place as mango, caimito and other fruit-bearing trees planted in the lot beside the restaurant are visible inside the restaurant.
Because the place was built in such a way that it’s well-ventilated and air circulates properly in the restaurant, it never feels warm inside despite the absence of an air conditioner.
Just like its décor, the food, too, is wide-ranging, taken from the home provinces of Jundio and Rosie, as well as from their current home, Marikina. There are dishes from Ilocos, where Jundio hails; Bicol, where Rosie comes from; and, Marikina, where they are now raising four children. Jundio calls their dishes “Bilocano” in jest, short for Bicol, Ilocano and Marikino.
From Bicol, there is the familiar laing, tinumok and Bicol express. These dishes are all spicy and the ubiquitous coconut milk is generously added the way the Bicolanos want it.
Then there is igado, dinakdakan, longganisa and pakbet, with the vegetable slightly overcooked, from the Ilocos region.
Last but not the least, the Marikinos in the Salvador couple is represented by imbutido, also known as everlasting in Marikina, waknatoy (Marikina's version of Menudo dish) and Pan de Amerikana, the bigger variety of the Filipino pandesal that became popular during the American occupation of the Philippines.
“What we are offering here are all home-cooked meals,” says Rosie, who is an interior decorator by profession, while her husband is a civil engineer. Before venturing into the restaurant business, the couple used to own a construction company.
In fact, before the restaurant became very popular, it was Rosie and the nanny of her children who used to cook in the restaurant. Now they have full time chefs.
Father and Son Secret Project
The Salvadors’ foray into the bakery and restaurant business is interesting.
Jundio’s father, who was born and raised in Ilocos, was craving for the Ilocano version of pandesal that is bigger and quite salty. Because the older Salvador, who used to be a baker in Ilocos, was not satisfied with Manila’s version of pandesal, he and his son, Jundio, built a small bakery without the knowledge of Rosie.
At that time, the Salvador couple was still into construction business.
Rosie herself was not enthusiastic about venturing into the food business since she claimed she did not know how to cook and had no idea how to run a bakery, much less a restaurant.
But the Salvador father and son went ahead with the putting up a small bakery in the lot where the restaurant is now standing. They kept it a secret from Rosie. They hired a baker from Ilocos, an old master of the craft, to bake the bread. It took them one month before the older Salvador, an architect by profession, was satisfied with the taste and texture of the pandesal.
During the month-long testing, the pandesal was given away.
“We were losing money then,” recalls Rosie. “It’s a good thing that after a month of experiments, my father-in-law was finally satisfied with the pandesal.”
The bakery opened in 2003 with just pandesal as the product, which eventually expanded to four varieties with the addition of Pan de Amerikana, ensaymada and loaf bread. Until now, the bakery continues to bake with only these four types of bread. With the success of the bakery, the Salvadors decided to expand the business and opened up a restaurant.
Their foray into the restaurant business was prodded by the heart condition of Jundio, who was advised by his doctors to take it easy or else. So the couple abandoned the stressful construction business and concentrated with the bakery and restaurant.
Today, it’s a huge success with customers from other parts of Metro Manila coming over to Marikina to enjoy their bread, coffee and Filipino dishes. A branch was opened in 2010 along Katipunan Avenue near White Plains.
Dining at Pan de Amerikana won’t cost you an arm and a leg as a full-meal would set you back by just P200 to P300. Not bad considering how tasty the dishes are.
92 General Ordonez Ave., Marikina 1811
(02) 475 2398
Bakery opens at 5:00 am and the restaurant at 6:00 am until 7pmThe restaurant and bake shop offers free baking as well as Taichi lessons every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 7am
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