Sumo Sam: Continuing the legacy

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Monday, October 15, 2012

LOVERS of Sumo Sam, one of the leading chain of Japanese restaurants in the country spearheaded by top restaurateurs and renowned chefs, will surely celebrate with the opening of the resto's 3rd branch in Davao City.

Though named The Legacy of Sumo Sam, it is still Sumo Sam.

According to Raymund Magdaluyo, one of the co-founders of Sumo Sam along with restaurateur Ricky Laudico and actor Marvin Agustin.


"SM Premier malls requested us to develop a special restaurant concept. Marvin, still wants it to be Sumo Sam thus, the name the Legend of Sumo Sam," said Magdaluyo, who owns more than 60 restaurants like Clawdaddy, The Red Crab, New Orleans and recently set up a gym named FTX.

"The interiors are similar but upgraded with an old town feel and new food items. Eventually, we will be launching our new menu that includes Japanese steaks, and every month we wil be featuring a guest chef, either from Davao or from Manila.

The SM Lanang branch, which is the third branch in Davao City and Mindanao, is a partnership with Dabawenyo Carlo Lorenzana. The first Sumo Sam restaurant in the city opened at the SM City Annex while the Abreeza branch opened in 2011.

This new addition to the aggressively growing chain of restaurants, which is now has a store count of 12 in Metro Manila, Cebu and Pampanga, has a 80-seating capacity on an 88 square meter area.

Started in 2005 at the Shangrila Plaza Mall, Sumo Sam was born with the idea of bringing high-quality Japanese cuisine to the Philippines at a price point that is not too expensive, Magdaluyo said.

In Davao, we have signature dishes, which comprise 30-40 percent of the menu, like the Mt. Apo roll (sushi with durian).

"We thought it was good opportunity to partner in Davao and Dabawenyos are accepting the the brand. We felt that there was a gap in the market between the expensive restaurants (which offer high quality food) and (small restaurants) that sell food at low prices," Magdaluyo said. "In Davao, the limit is creativity."

Magdaluyo added that each Sumo Sam restaurant will come out with dishes unique to a specific branch. This will be one of the distinguishing qualities of Sumo Sam.

"We provide variety. What we want to achieve is for people not to be afraid of Japanese food. That's why all items have pictures so they will see how the food look like,ö says Magdaluyo. "I so love Davao because there is so much we cannot execute in Manila due to constraints in raw materials. Dito maraming fresh ingredients.

In Davao, he said, prvices are a bit lower by 15 percent than Manila's and there is no service charge here.

Receiving positive feedback and loyal following from customers who appreciate the way they integrate different cooking styles and ingredients into Japanese cuisine, Magdaluyo added that they will open 10 to 15 stores in the next two years. By next month, Sumo Sam will open in Cagayan de Oro while next year will see another branch in General Santos City.

"Our vision is to be the Number 1 Japanese-themed resto in the country and that will be realized in a few years," Magdaluyo added. "We will build exciting formats with the legacy. Also, we will develop an new concept to play in that price area of Tokyo Tokyo because we dont' want to dilute the Sumo Sam brand."

As the legend says, the Sumo wrestling champion Sumo Sam always received a grand banquet in his honor every time he fought with other Japanese Sumo Wrestlers. He is said to be the Champion Eater, Legendary Fight. He is the icon that is carried by the Sumo Sam, the Japanese Restaurant that desires its guests to feel like champions by combining different techniques and elements of international cooking and integrating it to Japanese Cuisine.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 15, 2012.


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