A Cozy Patio and Its Delights

Patio Filipino manager and co-owner Tito Gonzales and his wife Tess are a constant presence at the popular San Bruno, California, restaurant. (Photo by Christian Thomas)

Patio Filipino manager and co-owner Tito Gonzales and his wife Tess are a constant presence at the popular San Bruno, California, restaurant. (Photo by Christian Thomas)

Many of Patio Filipino’s regulars will swear that dining at the popular San Bruno, California, restaurant is always a pleasure, and the primary reason may not even have anything to do with the food on their plate.

Rather it has to do with the restaurant’s “sincerity.”

Manager and co-owner Tito Gonzales says that is at the root of the restaurant’s philosophy.

He says he, his wife Tess (who helps him manage the restaurant), his two co-owners, and the staff always aim to “deliver the best food that (they) can offer, and the best service—with all sincerity from the heart.”

The approach is clearly working.

The restaurant, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this month, specializes in “Filipino-Spanish” cuisine, as it says on its website and menus—so you could get your choice from that list, like caldereta, callos or lengua—but really you could get just about any of the Pinoy’s all-time favorites: sisig, pinakbet, rellenong talong and even a good old serving of red-hot Bikol Express, if you’re in the mood for that.

Patio Filipino’s ginataang sitaw at kalabasa. (Photo by Christian Thomas)

Patio Filipino’s ginataang sitaw at kalabasa. (Photo by Christian Thomas)

Patio Filipino’s bagoong rice. (Photo by Christian Thomas)

Patio Filipino’s bagoong rice. (Photo by Christian Thomas)

Gonzales, who is a constant presence in the restaurant, gives credit, as well, to the staff’s experience.

“We have evolved,” he says. “Our food is better than 10 years ago.”

The same can be said of their brand of customer service, he says.

Gonzales, a personable gentleman of the old school, seems to be an embodiment of that. As he seats guests—they often include whole families out to enjoy a gold old-fashioned Filipino meal—he takes the time to develop rapport with them, personally seeing to their satisfaction, and getting feedback. He then uses that to make improvements in the service and menu.

As for the latter, his trips to Manila often help him cook up additions to what they offer.

Another key ingredient in Patio Filipino’s success is their “happy” staff, Gonzales says.

“We have the same people. For the last 10 years, seventy percent of our staff is … the same—our waiters, our cooks—they’re all the same.”

Cesar Briones and Rico Dumigpi were with Patio Filipino when it opened 10 years ago. They're still there. (Photo courtesy of Patio Filipino)

Cesar Briones and Rico Dumigpi were with Patio Filipino when it opened 10 years ago. They're still there. (Photo courtesy of Patio Filipino)

Lahat yan nagtatawanan sa kusina” (“Everyone is having a great time in the kitchen),” Gonzales says. “That means they enjoy working for us. They don’t want to leave us.”

And that results in “happy” customers, as well.

Of course, in the end, it all boils down to the food. And, in that, Patio Filipino hasn’t been remiss.

“We always deliver the best food possible,” Gonzales says.

Many will agree.

Patio Filipino is at 1770 El Camino Real, San Bruno, California.
For more information, go to www.patiofilipino.com.


Lorenzo Paran III

Lorenzo Paran III

Lorenzo Paran III writes about Filipino-American life. His blog is at www.pinoyinamerica.com.


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