Finding a new place to try is never a problem. It’s actually deciding which one. With such low barrier to entry, food establishments are something a lot of entrepreneurs are getting into. Everyone’s trying to get a slice of the foodie market by offering something different.
Our take on this is that, while a good business sense, a great concept and amazing food are necessary, what could just make you last is 100% inspiration. Inspiration leads to everything that you do. It dictates what your credo will be as to how you will go about things. And apart from the food you serve, this is the personality you become known for.
One of these inspired restaurants for us, is Órale Taqueria Mexicana in the Fort Strip. We described Órale before as “like a Spanish/Mexican expression of “OK!” or “Alright!” (or, if you want it exaggerated, it can even mean O…M…G!!!).“
On a separate visit, thanks to an invitation from Open Rice Philippines, we were fortunate enough to meet Órale’s General Manager and owner, Nikki Confiado. He gave us the background of how this Mexican restaurant came about. It was pretty simple. He and his wife Lexandra just wanted to share the home-style Mexican cooking they experienced back in California when they opened April of 2011.
Truly-inspired, they make sure all their ingredients are fresh and they don’t scrimp on quality, like how the tortillas are freshly-made. (When we were there, one of the staff just kept on pressing and pressing tortillas the whole time.) Given the taste, the price and the serving sizes, you can be sure you are getting your money’s worth.
They also promote a culture of helping each other improve. They encourage the staff to help and lift each other up instead of pulling each other down. This way, they are more efficient and they work better as a team. In the end, the customers get better service. It sounds simple but this is where some establishments actually fail. How Órale does this is admirable, really.
It’s no wonder that they have their fair share of regulars and even those who order in bulk for take-out. We’ve raved about the food and we’ll gladly do it again (and again and again :D).
An order of totopos with roasted tomato salsa and salsa verde allows you to taste the freshness of the tomatoes. Try their salsa inferno if you want a spicier dip.
Another simple item that packs an oomph from their menu is grilled corn on the cob. It’s served with lime to squeeze on on the corn. They also have corn that’s served with mayo. If you want something cheesy, you can never go wrong with the generous amount of cheese you get from their quesadilla.
For your meat fix, they have Carne Asada Tacos (soft tacos with meat, cilantro and pickled jalapenos), Pescado (a fish taco if you want a lighter version) or my personal favorite, the lengua burrito. The meat is sooo tasty and tender that it takes on an almost creamy texture. I’d go back just for the lengua burrito alone. It’s that good!
Pair anything with a margarita, a beer, or one of their canned teas from AriZona. The popular variant’s the Green Tea with Ginseng and Honey. Any combination works because of all the tasty and hearty meals.
A no-nonsense meal that’s prepared well and is well-thought of offers so much comfort even if compared to the most indulgent of dishes. More restaurants should take inspiration from how Órale does things and even the kind of culture they promote among themselves.
We hope they get inspired to open another branch soon.
Apart from inspiration, what do you think should restaurants consider nowadays?
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