Prime Pacific Grill Inc. (PPGI) is beefing up its brand portfolio with two new food concepts – Ramen Sora and the Yakitori Binchotan concept by Tokotaro.
The two new restaurants will be operated under a joint partnership with the owner-operators of Ramen Sora and Tokotaro in Japan and the United States – Yoshi Ishise, Tomio Hakada and Nori Suzuki, all Japanese chefs.
PPGI, operator of Gerry’s Grill, Kusina ng Gerry’s and Thai restaurant Sweet Chili, is set to open Ramen Sora along Waterfront Road in Subic next week (the week of Dec 15 to 19), while Yakitori will have its maiden branch on A.S. Fortuna in Cebu early January 2015.
“There is so much out there which Filipinos need to enjoy and experience. We are bringing the best of ramen and the best of yakitori. Everything will be authentic,” says Gerry Apolinario, president and chief executive officer of PPGI.
Among other areas, PPGI is eyeing Cebu, Makati, Alabang, and Quezon City for Ramen Sora’s expansion. Meanwhile, Yakitori is also set to open in Balibago, Pampanga next to Casino Filipino around April 2015.
Ramen Sora (sora meaning “sky”) originated in 2003 in Sapporo, considered the culinary capital of Japan which goes by the motto, “No Ramen No Life.” Its Las Vegas branch opened three years ago.
“The Philippines is only the second branch of Ramen Sora overseas and our first partnership with a foreign company. We are confident that PPGI can deliver the same kind of quality dishes which our loyal customers in Japan and the US enjoy,” said Chef Ishise, who is also the owner-operator of Sushi Twister in Las Vegas, Nevada in the US.
Unlike its foreign counterparts, Ramen Sora in Subic will offer popular Japanese appetizers like gyoza and sushi, among others. Ninety percent of the menu’s ingredients and equipment will be imported from Japan, Apolinario added.
Yakitori Binchotan, on the other hand, is named after a special kind of charcoal called bincho-tan used to prepare yakitori — which means skewered food, usually chicken.
“That kind of charcoal is only found in Japan. It’s white charcoal which produces high heat and does not emit smoke, so it allows the full flavor of the food to come out,” explains Apolinario.
Chef Nori, a third-generation owner of the original branch in Japan, is training the restaurant’s staff. “What we want is to ‘transport’ our guests to Sapporo and bring them as close as possible to the true yakitori experience,” says the PPGI chief. Voltaire Palaña