A RACING pit stop may be designed for getting in and out as quickly as possible, but at The Pitstop, it’s easy to find yourself staying longer than expected.

This auto-themed restaurant on Don Jose Avila St. opens bright and early for breakfast, has a long list of options for lunch, merienda and dinner, and then becomes a hangout in the evenings for drinks after work.

The restaurant’s signature dish is the mango pizza, an award-winning recipe that bested other mango dishes at Guimaras’ Manggahan Festival. Considered one of the must-try dishes when visiting Iloilo, mango pizza doesn’t taste like dessert; it is a savory-sweet pizza made of freshly sliced mangoes and cheese, topped with cashews and green bell pepper.

Glynnda Lopez loved the pizza so much during a visit to Iloilo that she thought of bringing it to Cebu, since it is famed for mangoes. She franchised The Pitstop restaurant from Iloilo owner Eugene Torrento and opened it here last October with business partner Roderick Bautista.

Other specialties are all infused with mango: the spicy Romeo mango pasta, chicken mango adobo twist and mango bangus sisig. However, there’s a variety of non-mango dishes available, including pizzas priced from P154 to P459 depending on the size and toppings. Breakfast and rice meals are only P99. There are also burgers, desserts and drinks such as the fresh and all-natural Guimaras blend.

Glynnda said she didn’t enlist the help of an interior designer to get the restaurant’s cars and racing theme, but worked with Roderick and a trusted handyman to get creative with the interiors. The glass-topped tables are specifically made for this restaurant, and even open at the side so people can play with the toy cars that run on miniature tracks. Glynnda said she did have to persuade her nephews to lend their collection of toy cars for the wall display, but they obliged with the promise of mango pizza.

Apart from being an all-day hangout spot, The Pitstop is also available as an event venue with a consumable amount of P3,000 good for three hours. The function area can accommodate 30 people for birthdays, baby showers and other get-togethers.

The Pitstop Restaurant is located on Don Jose Avila St., Capitol Site, Cebu City and will soon open a second branch near Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center. The Capitol branch is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday and up to 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays for open-mic acoustic nights.