The ultimate restaurant-A A +A
Friday, October 26, 2012
JAN Rodriguez’s penchant for food began while growing up being exposed to different cuisines.
His mom cooks real slow-cooked Filipino food while his dad does his Japanese dishes every Saturday and grills U.S. T-bone steak on Sundays. At an early age his grandmother would send him boxes filled with individual cheddar slices, Lipton iced tea, canned chili, Swiss cheese and combos. These items were not readily-available locally. All this was an early experience for Jan’s palate.
He loves to travel and this lead to his gastronomical journey. He picks the best item from the menu and quips that these don’t come cheap—so it makes it sinful for the belly and the pocket. The most versatile item for Jan is garlic and he’s all set. His pantry must-haves are lemons, onions and garlic. When asked what he can whip up for an unexpected friend in ten minutes he says he can easily prepare any dish from the pantry in around the same time. His all time fave comfort food is buffalo chicken wings and says he can live off it.
The restaurant Ilaputi was inspired by the flavors of his travels which at that time was highly Asian inspired. He decided to open a place where one can have Asian Soul Food and keep the standard of high quality and value.
Irie was born 2004 and started out as a lounge with Asian Fusion cuisine. Totally reborn this year, Irie Gastropubliko serves mostly American pub fares and he says that everything served in Irie is completely different from what is served in Ilaputi.
Irie is a gastropub that focuses on quality food. Pub—from the word “public” is a place for gathering. It’s a place to unwind and meet a variety of people. Irie is the first gastropub in Cebu City and that alone sets Irie apart from other restaurants. He adds that his prices are low considering the quality and quantity of the dishes served.
Jan was inspired by the simplicity of the 1930s, so what better way to feast on American pub fare than in a contemporary Americana designed place. Everything is matte black accented with a little silver and gold for simple and classy elegance. Irie is a non-pretentious place and contrary to what people may think, it does not require a dress code. Continuing with the design, all the windows fold up like that of a New York pub to let the breeze in during the cool season. Irie is located in the corner of Skyrise 4.
This area is normally breezy throughout the year and it’s a perfect place to hang out during those hot summer and non-summer nights. It is open for 24 hours.
He highly recommends Irie’s homemade chili, U.S. sirloin beef burgers and chicken wings. For the ladies he suggests the truffle pasta, smoked salmon salad or the mac and cheese. The specialty of the house would be their Angus kebab and critically acclaimed Irie Burger. His restaurants attract a variety of clientele and it is his priority to serve great food and make guests smile at the first bite. The restaurant caters to a wide market because food isn’t supposed to be limited to a particular age range.
He isn’t content with just good service but aims for great service. You cannot delight the guest with mediocre service. Irie is Jamaican slang for “alright”, “no worries”, “positivity”, “good vibes” and is also named after his second son’s name Euan Irie. Gastropubliko is his Visayan take on the word Gastropub.
To add a feather to his cap is the Young Aspiring Starpreneur award during the Youth Entrepreneurship Summit award, awarded by Philippine Center Entrepreneurship on Oct. 5 for his restaurants Irie Gastropubliko and Ila Puti. Jan’s dictum is: “My passion is my family, food, design and life itself. Without it, there’s no point in living.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 27, 2012.