All things ‘BIG’ and beautiful, Bigby's at 15

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

FILLED with its mostly regular guests who have been dining at this cozy and homey authentic Kagay-anon café and resto for the past 15 years, Bigby’s held its once-a-year buffet on its birthday on December 8 at Centrio Mall.

Fifteen years ago, longtime friends Henrik Kelley Yu, Joanna Cris Yu, and Catherine Genabe came up with an idea of a creative atmosphere and a unique dining experience that takes you to different corners of the world just by taking your pick at their menu.

The years of foodie weekend trip in high school eventually sent Joanna and Catherine to pursue their culinary studies after completing their undergrad degrees.

Joanna and Catherine together with Doy (Henrik) established the dream and the product of their creative culinary imagination – the famous and proudly Kagay-anon, “Bigby’s Café and Restaurant” at Hayes Street here.

Bigby’s was borne out of Doy’s desire to eat with a serving that’s satisfying, that’s big and would bring a big smile after the hearty dining experience served by a blithesome crew.

Sonjie Ang, general operations manager of the seven Bigby’s in Visayas and Mindanao, told Sun*Star Cagayan de Oro that it was Doy’s personal experience of wanting to be served with a big meal that drove the friends to provide such BIG, family servings to Kagay-anons and visitors to fill their appetites.

Sonjie recalled that for a year, the trio (Doy, Joanna and Catherine) personally managed the first Bigby’s where Doy personally served food since he takes care of the marketing side while Joanna and Catherine created their culinary experiments that became Bigby’s signature menus like the “Rack-A-Bye-Baby” finger licking goodness of tender smoky barbecued pork ribs; Uncle Sam Roast beef, slices of slow-roasted U.S. choice beef served with a rich creamy gravy; the midnight dream cake moist, dark chocolate cake and among other creations.

‘Throwback menu’

On Sunday, loyal customers were filled to their gut as they enjoyed the sumptuous “throwback menu” and the bottomless drinks of their favorite house specialty iced-tea and lemonade served in the buffet feast.

Sonjie said that to delight their customers on Bigby’s 15th birthday, it brought back the original menu like Kimmy’s chunky stew, the sweet and spicy Korean-style beef stew; the spicy Pasta Creole; the Chili flappers, the sweet chili glazed fried wings and the Grilled Rodeo Chops, the specially marinated pork chops.

They topped the buffet with Uncle Sam Roast Beef and sweetened it with its Fudgie Sensation – the warm brownies.

“A lot of our customers have been asking of these original menus, and so we decided to bring them back and gave our 15th year the throwback theme,” Sonjie said.

In 2014, Bigby’s customers and patrons will likely see the original menus back in the list, but perhaps on a monthly specials basis.


When asked how the friends managed to expand Bigby’s in other areas, Sonjie said it is the teamwork and openness of the mind to new things and the endless creation of food that suits to everyone’s palate.

Sonjie said they work on one another’s area of responsibility and meet every week to make room for modification, improvement and criticism to give more foodie offering.

The owners’ families and even loyal customers get to taste first any specialty created.

“Cathy does the commissary still. She personally makes the sauces and spices that are brought to all our branches. We just work together doing our own thing to smoothen out the entire operations,” Sonjie added.

They did not only introduce a well-loved dining shop in the city, they have also expanded this famous Kagay-anon café and resto to other areas where the challenges have been met.

The other branches are now on franchise and they look forward to more Bigby’s opening in the years ahead.

“Did you know?”

Rodrigo Funk Ylaya hosted Sunday’s indoor entertainment via a trivia game and gave out gift certificates to the winners.

At the dinner buffet, the customers along with the Bigby’s crew journeyed down memory lane and got to know Bigby’s better through the trivia game.
The first ever Bigby’s Café and Restaurant was located at #89 Hayes Street here in Cagayan de Oro City while the first mall Bigby’s opened at Ayala Mall in Cebu City back in 2001. Bigby’s Café also has other branches in Cebu (2), Cagayan de Oro (2), General Santos (1) and Davao (2).

The YOLO (You Only Lived Once) Challenge promo was held last month prior to the 15th anniversary. Guests were informed of the challenges they could possibly join.

“The challenge was for the customer to eat the mega rack-a-bye-baby and the Big Manhattan burger. If the customer failed to finish the food, he/she had to pay for it,” Sonjie explained.

‘The ultimate YOLO Challenge’ which Charles Waugh won for the ‘Mega Rack a Bye Baby’ and ‘The Tag Team’ title earned by father and son Mario and Alec Quizo for the ‘Big Manhattan Burger’ challenge.

Both winners brought home P5,000 worth of gift certificates each from Bigby’s.

Another surprise for that Sunday night came later after the trivia game, when the Bigby’s crew serenaded a birthday celebrator in the crowd.
Looks like the other customers found the scene entertaining for they watched until the serenading ended.

Bigby’s seem to be a favorite of many not only for their delicious food but also for the kind of service their crew offer.

Everyone is always pleasant and jolly even after a busy anniversary day. Greetings and smiles are always ready for the customers.

Big burgers, gigantic ice creams, life-sized ribs that will make you drool at first sight… the list is endless.

Everything is huge at Bigby’s Café including the smiles of the customers who exit their doors fully satisfied.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 11, 2013.


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