Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Buca di Beppo's New Home in Manila Welcomes Family Celebrations

Buca di Beppo®, the popular Italian restaurant chain that has conquered taste buds in over 100 locations worldwide, is now in Manila, specifically at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. Serving Italian cuisine, Buca di Beppo® celebrates sumptuous Italian family-style feasts perfect for sharing in a vintage setting that gives foodies a nostalgic and whimsical dining experience.

The original restaurant opened in 1993 in the basement of an apartment building in Minneapolis, U.S.A. Back then, it was called Buca Little Italy. Five years later, it was renamed Buca di Beppo®, which translates roughly to Joe’s Basement. Buca literally means “hole,” or the Tuscan slang for basement or cellar. Beppo is a nickname for Guiseppe, the Italian form of Joseph in Northern Italy.

The mission of Buca di Beppo® is “to capture the fun and enthusiasm of an authentic Italian gathering along with delectable food.”  In this setting, the Italian restaurant “serves recipes handed down from generation to generation by Italian immigrants.”

Seeing how Italians’ celebration of food and family resonates with Filipinos’ own love for festivities, businessman Marcelino Florete Jr., holder of the Master Franchise of Buca di Beppo® in the Philippines, decided to bring the restaurant to Manila. He says: “We felt that there’s room for an authentic Italian restaurant in the country today. And we also felt that there are very few restaurants if at all, that can call itself “a home of celebrations for the family.”

Because of this, Buca di Beppo® servings are perfect for groups. The large serving can satisfy 10-12 people; the medium is good for four to six people; and the small portion is a fit for two people.

Celebrating the Italian family table

Buca di Beppo® serves authentic Italian favorites like Lasagna, Chicken Parmigiana, and Spaghetti with their famous half-pound meatballs!

Florete clarifies: “We’re very Italian in the sense that unlike our competitors, you will not find steaks here. We don’t serve ribs or steaks because those are really more American. We stick to the basic Italian.. We’ve so many types of pastas, we’ve so many types of pizzas, and of course we have the wine. We have very good calamari and mussels, cooked the Italian way. We have all those appetizers, but we don’t have sandwiches.”

With the dishes suited to the Filipino taste, Florete believes that Pinoy diners will love the food in Buca di Beppo®.

Whimsy and memorabilia

If the walls and ceilings of Buca di Beppo® could talk, imagine what stories they would tell!   For the interiors of the restaurant are filled to the rafters with photos, artworks, and memorabilia of Italian history and pop culture. Expertly curated by interior designer Bob Charles, these images mirror the décor of all Buca di Beppo® restaurants worldwide.

It is said that over 2,500 photos are included in the Buca di Beppo® collection. These are distributed appropriately among the restaurant’s different rooms that can accommodate groups of four, 10, 20, or 40. “There’s a lot of fun in our collection,” Florete continues. “There’s a story behind maybe at least 60-70% of the frames that you look at. We expect customers to ask, who is this? Who is that?”

The Chef’s Table, which is right beside the kitchen, can easily fit eight people. Its walls are decorated with photos of Italian chefs, as well as the different ingredients that are integral to Italian cuisine, like tomato, cheese, pasta, eggplant, garlic, and lemon. The chef interacts with diners, and guests are allowed to explore the kitchen.

The eight people that the Pope Room can accommodate can proudly say that they had their meal under the watchful eye of several eminent popes. In fact, there are frames that start from St. Peter to Pope Benedict. There is a bust of Pope Francis, and two niches feature Pope John Paul II and Pope Paul VI.  Florete remarks, “Pope Paul VI because of his role in the Second Vatican Council and Pope John Paul II because he is loved by Filipinos.”

Over at the Poster Room, which can accommodate 30-40 people, diners are surrounded by photos of celebrities and other important personalities. For example, they have Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robert De Niro, and basketball players like Shaquille O'Neal – all customers and celebrities who go to Buca in the U.S.

The Wine Room, which can accommodate 20 people, has photos of diners who have enjoyed their wine there.

Another 20 people can fit in the Gangster Room, which displays images and memorabilia of the notorious and infamous.

Around and about the restaurant are more art pieces that tickle curiosities, both intriguing and amusing. Take the statues, for example. There are two Venus statues, one being Venus de Arle and the other, Venus de Milo. And then, there’s the classic David by Michelangelo. With those statues exposing more skin than modesty dictates, the restaurant has positioned them in such a way so as not to offend more conservative sensibilities.

Interspersed with the memorabilia are numerous artworks that dot the walls. These were all painted by local artists, who have done fantastic and exquisite work.

And speaking of locals, Buca di Beppo® hopes to fill its Celebrity Board with famous Filipinos as they come and visit the restaurant.

On one side of the main dining area, a particular image catches the eye. It is a photo of a man who is also an icon of Buca di Beppo®. Every single Buca restaurant features this man. He is none other than Big Joe, the Joseph, the Beppo who started the legend that is Buca di Beppo®. The story goes that Big Joe would work 12 hours as an ordinary cook. Finally, he said, “There’s got to be a better way to life.” So he decided to open his own restaurant, which became Buca di Beppo®. But after opening this restaurant, he realized how busy he had become that he could no longer go to church. He was an avid Catholic. That was supposed to be the reason for the Pope Room. He brought them into his restaurant.

Indeed, the Buca di Beppo® experience is both a culinary and a visual feast. And as groups of diners sit in any of the restaurant’s rooms, reveling in the ambiance, they are transported to an Italian world where family and hearty Italian food are celebrated.

Buca di Beppo® is located at the Ground Floor, BGC Corporate Center, 11th Avenue corner 30th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. Like them on Facebook: Buca di Beppo Philippines and follow them on Instagram: @bucadibeppoph.

Buca di Beppo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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