A taste for the beautiful: Sample the vast world of flavors of The Villar Group's growing retail empire

A taste for the beautiful: Sample the vast world of flavors of The Villar Group’s growing retail empire

/ 09:00 AM August 31, 2022

Stunning is the word in force as you catch a glimpse of one of the many uniquely crafted concepts in the Villar group’s vast collection of cafes and restaurants.

As you scroll through your many social media feeds, chances are you’ve already seen a friend sharing a photo of themselves enjoying a crafted coffee or cocktail—posing in all their joy with the now-iconic views of a Villar café like the Ruined Project, The Crossing Café or any of the locations of the ubiquitous Coffee Project. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg floating in your iced coffee. After all, Coffee Project casually exudes “Instagrammable”, carrying the distinction of being among Big Seven Travel’s “Top 50 Most Instagrammable Cafés in the World.”

Coffee Project

Coffee Project

Stunning is also the word in force when you regard the pace at which the Villar group of companies’ has grown its presence in the café and restaurant industries. Borne of Chairman Manny B. Villar, Jr’s love for all things coffee, Coffee Project has led the way for the group. Since opening its first doors in 2014, it is now the third largest café operator in the Philippines with 55 branches—a clear display of strength in creating picturesque cafes that have established themselves as community attractions.

Manny Villar also loves to innovate, and food is just one of his many playgrounds. Since starting with Coffee Project, he has led the way in creating his own world of flavor. “By informing his own taste with many trips to—and inspirations from—the best the world has to offer, Villar has led his food group in creating and operating over 175 locations of varying and wonderful expressions of coffee and food—a continuing and increasingly ambitious project of bringing world-class taste to an increasingly discerning Filipino market.”

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Breathing life into Filipino café culture

In a local café scene that often favors function, the cafes of the Villar group have taken a clear direction—to overwhelm the senses. Coffee in any of the café chains the Villar group operates—Coffee Project, Coffee Project Black, and Dear Joe—is invariably a drink enjoyed with a breathtaking view. This is seen most especially in the elevated executions of design and helped along by the collective synergy with Vista Land, giving it access to picturesque sites. Pushing the envelope further, the group takes its café blueprint and gives it a dash of creative flair, giving birth to a growing list of concepts that feature The Crossing Café, Ruined Project? Joe’s Tavern, Windmill Lausanne, Andersen’s Bakery, Napa at Crosswinds, Roma, Café Yama, and San Marco.

Dear Joe

Dear Joe

Villar group

The Crossing Cafe

Villar group

Napa at Crosswinds

But more than exciting the market with creative cafes that practically demand to be visited, the Villar café chains thrive on providing the Filipino café dweller with the little things that keep them coming back:  a highly-curated menu of delicious drinks, savory meals and a space that is generous with little innovations: power outlets for every table, stable WiFi connections and store layouts that actually allow for privacy when a customer truly needs it.

Growing a tantalizing portfolio of tastes

To complement the formidable array of café options and to provide a growing clientele with variety, the Villar group has quickly expanded into quick service and casual restaurants, bistros and bars—even food halls and food trucks—creating a lively ecosystem of food options for the many communities that they serve.

Villar group

One natural route was to provide the perfect complement to coffee—pastry. In the Villar group, neighborhood-style bakery Bake My Day almost always goes hand-in-hand with Coffee Project, reinforcing coffee cravings with that distinct aroma of something piping hot and freshly baked. Today, Bake My Day operates 30 locations across the country and gave rise to elevated differentiations of the brand in the form of niche patisserie Bread Basket and the more accessible Yummy Bakes.

Another natural route, of course, was to bring Filipinos food they know and love—expressed in Villar group concepts such as classically great pizza from AllAmerican, and takes on chicken restaurants that take both local and international inspirations, through the great inasal served by Chicken Deli and fried chicken restaurant Boston Chicken.

The group also curates tastes from here and abroad and create the best possible atmosphere for them to be enjoyed, giving birth to concepts like Commune Hall and the food truck concepts OMO, UNO MAS, and Burger O’Clock.

The group has also expanded into bistros and watering holes, which are enjoying a vibrant revival, post-pandemic. Concepts such as Rooftop, Sixty Four, Joe Drive, and the popular Mexican fusion concept Sombrero were all warmly welcomed by their communities for their unique brand of fun, lively weekly events, and unmistakably delicious food and cocktails.

Villar group

Sixty Four

The world of flavor that the Villar group is offering is young, when taken in the context of the industry. That said, in that time, this world that they have created is capturing more and more hearts, and more than its fair share of buzz. The fabulous flavors of the Villar group is in full bloom, and we are sure that the world waits with bated breath for what’s coming next.

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