A steak house venture amid a land of seafoodBy Yolanda Sotelo
Inquirer Northern Luzon
URDANETA CITY—In Pangasinan, a province famous for its seafood and fresh vegetables, a couple dared to be different and established this city’s first steak house.
Odie and Kate Hernandez entered the restaurant business despite doing well in construction, through their GRHH construction company. Odie is an engineer while Kate is an architect.
“But I love cooking and experimenting with new recipes, and going to the market,” Odie says.
“As a family, food is our passion and eating is our bonding time,” says Kate.
Thus it seemed only natural that the couple put up a restaurant called 10ders Steak House and Sushi Bar which opened in December at the second floor of Pentagon Building in this eastern Pangasinan city.
The “10” in the restaurant’s name was the original number of partners, but even before it opened, the nine backed out one by one, leaving only the Hernandezes who decided to maintain the business name.
The chance for the couple to run a restaurant came late last year when Larry’s Steak House in the area closed after only a month of operation, and the owner offered the place to them.
“At first we were hesitant as we did not have experience in running a restaurant. But we decided to plunge into the business. We originally wanted to get a franchise from Slice n’ Dice (a fast food chain offering steaks) but we thought to have our own brand of steaks,” Kate says.
She called her friend, Portia Sagalongos, a chef at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, to help her plan the menu and come up with original recipes. Sagalongos was soon at their doorstep and together they planned the menu.
The 10ders Steak House and Sushi Bar opened just in time for the Christmas season.
“Business is going up,” says the couple’s daughter, Gayle, who manages the restaurant.
“We really cater to the A and B market although our prices are much lower compared to the prices in Metro Manila restaurants, as our customers who frequent steak houses [there] can attest. We do not compromise with ingredients and we buy the best we can find,” she says.
The restaurant offers 10ders strip sirloin steak and 10ders rib-eye steak (P675 each), pan-seared rib eye (P445), sirloin steak (P455), porterhouse (P325) and lamb chops (P325). Their prime meat cuts are imported from Australia.
Gayle says their Australian T-bone is affordable at P149 per serving.
The menu has different kinds of sushi (a plate costs below P200), pasta and other favorites like crispy shrimp, gambas, salad, club sandwich and burger. The bar is loaded with a selection of wine and beer from different countries.
Gayle, who grew up and studied in Metro Manila, says there was a sort of “culture shock” when she managed 10ders.
“In Manila, restaurants are usually full during weekends. But here, we have plenty of customers on weekdays but less on weekends,” she says.
To encourage customers to return, the restaurant offers a loyalty card that entitles them to freebies, discounts and rebates.
Putting up a steak house in a city where visitors and locals are used to eating seafood and fresh vegetables may be going against the tide, but the Hernandezes say they are confident to find a niche market.
“The risk was well worth it,” Kate says.