Back when travel restrictions put a pause on those pleasant out-of-town trips to his Tagaytay establishments (Antonio’s, Antonio’s Breakfast and Balay Dako), Chef Tony Boy Escalante and his team had to think of a way to respond to this unforeseen setback. Dine-in operations had stopped for months so, to connect to their patrons, they had upgraded their deli offerings.
“Breakfast at Antonio’s and Balay Dako already have physical deli stores where guests can buy homemade products like jams, delicacies, freshly baked pastries, breads and meats too,” shares Escalante. Now, they offering some of these deli products online, for the Manila crowd, through selected distributors. Added to the fare are newly developed ready-to-cook frozen products but, to clarify, not takeaway ready-to-cook kits. Loyalists will, however, be thrilled to know that available are two Antonio’s classics to cook at home: duck leg confit and 40-day dry-aged steak!
With the situation eased up, Antonio’s opened its doors albeit on a limited scale. Their six-day-week schedule was tapered to four days a week at 50 per cent capacity only. Save for a few minor adjustments, no major renovations were needed to comply with the new safety standards. “We have always believed in enjoying nature and the surroundings when you dine with us, and that belief has only been revalidated because of this pandemic. Our restaurants’ spaces are big and allow for a lot of ventilation and outdoor seating. As such, we are already very safe to begin with,” Escalante elaborates.