Our Lovely Lunch at Beeffalo

Last Saturday, I went to Beeffalo Antipolo Branch with my parents, because they had an event there. 

Me and my mom

Beeffalo by Hot Rocks is a family restaurant owned and managed by husband and wife Louie and Girlie Abad (right and middle) and their partner and good friend Caren Diaz (left). Its maiden branch is located  in Marikina City.  A new Beeffalo store recently opened its doors right at the heart of M.L. Quezon Avenue in Antipolo City, a culinary gem that is waiting to be discovered.

A vintage cash machine and a rusty toy car, sitting at the wine racks.

There is so much to love about BEEFFALO By Hot Rocks: its delicious everyday comfort food, the homey and unpretentious ambiance and the randomness that breathes   character to the restaurant, giving it a charming vibe borne out of a mélange of modern and vintage, of classic and casual.

A band composed of African-Americans, and a vintage bike.

And while your typical steakhouses boast of clean modern lines with dark and woodsy interior and all that stuff regular stekhouses have, Beeffalo in Antipolo City is well-lit and pulsating with bright, vibrant colors. Louie said that they originally wanted a roadhouse that serves inexpensive beef dishes but later realized that they have become more than that. “We are now a destination for couples, families, groups and office workers who are in search of delicious yet affordable comfort food  in a homey and  airy ambience,” Louie enthused. But what catches everyone’s attention is the mishmash of old and classic decors. Stepping inside Beeffalo by Hot Rocks in Antipolo is like exploring a quaint museum of vintage stuff - old dial-up black table telephone, tin plates festooned on the walls, statues of ceramic reggae singers on the foreground. Even the misplaced fishing rods, surf boards, the cruiser bike perched just behind the counter, the vintage Vespa—all these memorabilia seem to give a glimpse of the owners’ own personal stories, based on family outdoor trips and fun-filled adventures.

U.S. plate numbers hanging on the posts.

A bunch of frames hanging upon the front door, not to mention a cow head and my dad.

Tito Louie's Story
“Beeffalo actually began as Hot Rocks, a restaurant concept that came about because of our love to ‘eat out,’ which in our case, was literally outside of the house,” Louie narrated.  “With five kids to feed at a limited budget, we had to do it our way and grill on our backyard to save on costs. Everyone raved about the steaks and the dishes that Girlie would cook. It was so much fun that we would invite our friends who were only too pleased to join us.” An idea then sparked in Louie’s mind, to open a grill-type of restaurant offering what they had at home and all at affordable prices. That was how Hot Rocks was born in an unassuming, out of the way, hole-in-the-wall location at Autocamp in Pasig City and later in Club 650 in Libis, Quezon City. Club 650 was closer too, so that's where we went weekly.  The restaurants were a certified hits among people of all ages, including celebrities and politicians who raved about their mouth-watering steaks  and Filipino dishes that offered bang for the buck. But when Club 650 closed down in 2012, Hot Rocks grilled their last.

A year later, Louie and his partners sort of ‘resurrected’ Hot Rocks and rebranded and reformatted it until it became the Beeffalo by Hot Rocks that me and my family know today.  Its maiden restaurant was opened in October 2013 along Gil Fernando Avenue in Marikina, far from commercial areas that restaurateurs would normally consider, yet today there are about two other restaurants residing there. “ Our location in Marikina was surrounded by unoccupied parcels of land. It was a risky move but something prompted us to do it just the same. And it worked!” Louie enthused.   Its success, largely due to the great food at reasonable prices and a homey and unassuming ambiance, led to the opening of a second branch in Antipolo City. The name “Beeffalo” arose from a random concept. The trio wanted something unique and catchy, a term that would figuratively roll off one’s tongue (because of how their food tastes) to one’s mind (for that nice recall) effortlessly. Or they made a pun after the buffalo wings. Or both.

Our appetizer, The Fully Loaded Nachos! Quite tasty,
but not as good as the Grilled Three-Cheese Sandwiches.
Now that's what I call a work of art.

My mom's appetizer, the Broccoli-Cheese Soup.

My personal favorite, the Porterhouse Steak.
I prefer it medium. This is the best with
their mustard.

I'm just dialing random numbers on this
vintage yet cordless telephone,
don't mind me. 

My favorite pizza, Three Cheese Pizza, due to its thin and
crispy crust, and the button mushrooms help, too!

Have that pizza! It’s not your usual thick or deep dish ones. The Margherita and Three Cheese Biscuit Pizzas—topped with the choice tomatoes, cheeses, and full-flavored herbs—are extremely thin-crusted that every bite gives out that yummy crunch. And yummy crunches are always accepted.

Pork Baby Back Ribs, one of Beeffalo's 
bestsellers in both Antipolo and
Marikina branches.

My favorite appetizer, Grilled Three-Cheese
Sandwich with Tomato Soup. :D

The social media accounts and addresses of both
the Marikina and Antipolo branches.

Beeffalo by Hot Rocks Antipolo Branch's address is M.L. Quezon Ext. Antipolo City across Antipolo Doctor's Hospital. The operating hours are Fridays and Saturdays  (11am to 12mn); Sundays to Thursdays (11am to 11 pm).

Beeffalo by Hot Rocks Marikina City Branch's address is at the north end of Mayor Gil Fernando Avenue, Marikina City.  Operating hours are Fridays and Saturdays  (11am to 12mn); Sundays to Thursdays (11am to 11 pm).

One of the Filipino's favorite dishes with a twist,
the Sizzling Beef Ribs in Tangy Tamarind Gravy.
In other words, it's sinagang na beef ribs steak.
Odd, but otherwise delish!

Last but not least, Beeffalo's bestselling dessert, the 
famous Brazo de Mercedes! Unbelievably delicious!

It is good to wash all these flavors down with their original Cucumber-Lemonade drink. Beeffalo also offers decadent desserts such as their version of Brazos de Mercedes, as seen up top, Turtle Pie, Crème Brulee, the cool and marshmallow-laden Jar of Monkeys. 

 Louie, Girlie and Caren are happy to share that Beeffalo in Marikina City will soon sport a new look. “It will be more streamlined and updated while maintaining the charm, the sense of randomness and the vibe that made our restaurant a well-loved one from the moment we opened,” Louie explained. It will still be homey, airy and in Louie’s own words, “planty’. “These add what might be call, ‘magic’ or perhaps ‘allure’ to Beeffalo and we don't want to lose that." Nor do we, Tito Louie.  "But we also would like to improve on some design aspects. There is always room for improvement.” The refurbishment is ongoing and will be revealed sometime in August. 

Watch out for it. It is worth your while to visit this unassuming place with extraordinary food. So if you happen to be in M.L Quezon in Antipolo City or would like to explore Marikina, drop by Beeffalo in Gil Fernando Avenue. Beeffalo by Hot Rocks is a perfectly random idea that promises to become one memorable culinary journey.


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