Hawaii’s homegrown burger now in PH
WITH Filipinos becoming more discerning when it comes to food choices, many international brands have set up hot kitchens in the Philippines as they recognize a growing gusto for dining out across the market.
The latest addition to this dizzying array of foreign food outlets in town was born in a regular backyard in Hawaii 16 years ago. Now a household brand in the “Land of Aloha,” the burger joint is Greenbelt 3, Makati City’s new craze to date, featuring a home-cooked recipe that two fresh college graduates grilled to perfection in 1998.
Ted Tsakiris and Rich Stula, the men behind this delicious success story, personally introduced Teddy’s Bigger Burgers to the Philippines on August 23, thankful that their “100 percent corn-fed US Black Angus ground chunk patties” have earned the curiosity of carnivorous foodies this side of the world.
“With gourmet burger res-taurants on the rise and foodies clamoring for burgers that are beyond fast food [quality], we’re looking forward to giving Filipinos a taste of Teddy’s and what makes it cut above the rest,” enthused Tsakiris at the jam-packed launch.
This is their fourth branch outside of Hawaii—with two in the US and one in Japan—in addition to 11 locations in Hawaii.
Tsakiris and Stula partnered with SumoBurger Global Inc. for the Manila outlet, an umbrella company of several local and international restaurant brands owned by the trio of Marvin Agustin, Raymund Magdaluyo and Ricky Laudico.
Behind the burger
Tsakiris and Stula, both self-confessed burger lovers, have long been grilling delicious meats in their backyards. It was during one of these delicious barbecues that they simply thought of putting up their own burger place in the northern side of the Oahu Island, and put their “hobby” to pro-fitable use.
“I graduated college and was set to go to law school. But then I took a break, and at the time I was vulnerable in what I wanted to do,” Tsakiris narrated to The Manila Times. “While on break, we hung out a lot with get-togethers in our backyard, just grilling our own burgers.
“And I always made big burgers and ate a lot of burgers!” he laughed, “Then, we realized our side of the island didn’t have burger places. The only burger place of its own, with the nearest burger joint, a 45-minute drive away.”
Admittedly, Tsakiris, who worked his way from flipping his own burgers in the early days to heading a company of 450 employees today, had difficulty perfecting Teddy’s burgers. But with Stula’s help and their commitment to serve customers with only “high quality burgers,” they made sure to listen to what their patrons wanted while raising the standard of every patty to perfection.
“A lot of people came in [to our first burger joint]but no one was voicing out any complaints. They told all their friends [what they thought]but they wouldn’t tell us what they were,” Tsakiris recalled. “So we made sure to ask our customers what they thought of our burgers through a very personal approach, and did we burn a lot burgers until we got it right!”
Tsakiris was further proud to tell The Manila Times that Teddy’s Bigger Burgers makes sure that quality is consistent across its 17 outlets worldwide. This is true even with the greeting a diner receives at the door of the island-inspired joints, which is of course, no less than a wholehearted, “Aloha!”
The star of the resto remains to be the Teddy’s Burger patties, which are all imported from the US, with no fillers or extenders.
“Every burger is hand-pattied daily with our special seasoning, and freshly charbroiled upon order,” Tsakiris continued.
Made from ground chunks, which come from the neck and shoulder portions of corn-fed cows, burger lovers can choose from three sizes at Teddy’s: Big at 5 oz.; Bigger at 7 oz.; and Biggest at 9 oz.
With a sweet and tangy “special sauce,” each sandwich comes with a variety of toppings including lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and onions. For sauces, the choices are Buffalo, Teri, Barbecue, and Kailua Fire Sauce.
Like most gourmet burgers, diners are also invited to “make their own burger” with inte-resting add-ons like grilled pineapple, grilled onions, jalapeño, bacon, and pastrami, among others, and four staple cheeses of American, Cheddar, Pepperjack and Swiss.
One surprising add-on is peanut butter, which the owners swear to be delicious and complimentary to their patties. “It gives that sweet peanut flavor to the burger,” Tsakiris smacked his lips.
The buns used for the patties are also unique—special potato buns that are “soft and delicate in texture, with a slightly sweet note that brings out the smoky, savory flavor of the burger.”
To provide lighter choices, the patties can also be had as a lettuce wrap for the carb-conscious.
Sidings are a choice of beer battered onion rings or cheese and garlic French fries.
Tsakiris’ recommended beverage with Teddy’s Burgers is a milkshake, with theirs made with 85-percent ice cream and 15-percent milk.
“We have flavors in chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, peanut butter, dreamsicle or root beer,” he enumerated.
For those who prefer chicken, they have the Tiki Wings and Chicken Tenders in special recipes as well.
But what Tsakiris is most exited about is the new Loco Moco Burger. Why new? Because it is served only in the Philippines, carrying a “tapsilog” flavor in the homegrown Hawaiian patty.
Teddy’s Bigger Burgers is located at the third floor of Greenbelt 3 in Makati City. Another branch is soon to open at the Shangri-La Mall in October, and in Eastwood Mall in November. For more information, log on to www.facebook.com/TeddysBugersPH.