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How this Ilocano nurse built Baguio’s most successful homegrown pizza chain

How this Ilocano nurse built Baguio’s most successful homegrown pizza chain

10/21/2021 11:00:00 PM

How this Ilocano nurse built Baguio’s most successful homegrown pizza chain

This nurse-turned-restaurateur has gone through so many challenges and detours in life. But he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Amare at DPS CompoundBack to BaguioEdmark soon realized he eventually needed to return to Baguio; nothing will happen if he stayed in Antipolo. Armed with newfound knowledge on Italian cooking, he returned to his hometown, borrowed money from his father, Mar, and started working on a pizza joint with Nica. 

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Edmark converted their ancestral home at the DPS Compound into a takeout pizzeria, which he called Amare La Cucina. In English, “to love the kitchen.” But Amare also happens to be a portmanteau of the names of the Bustos siblings (Allan, Marian and Edmark). 

The Bustos' old house converted into a pizzeriaThe pizza joint started operations in July 2013. Their Napoletana pizzas were flying off the shelves. But since their spot was a residential area, the operations were halted after a month. The couple had to look for a commercial spot. With the sum lent by his father, Edmark was able to lease a 100-square meter area at the lobby of Albergo Hotel in Baguio—their very first branch. The restaurant opened in January 8, 2014.

For the first two months, money was so limited they were using monobloc chairs sponsored by the Berkeley School. Eventually, they were able to buy nicer chairs and tables through their earnings. They slowly started recruiting staff members to help. “Most of them

wala talagangculinary background, so we personally trained them.” Edmark and Nica, who got married in 2015, have since been hands on in running the Amare operations.Amare La Cucina's wood-fired brick ovenRecipe for successEdmark thinks they chanced upon the right concept at the right time with Amare. “

Sanauna kaming gumamit ng pugon owood-fired brick factornamin,” he says. He was able to source German fire bricks, which would retain heat for a long period of time, so they consume only 10 bundles of wood per day.Amare La Cucina’s other selling point is that customers can enjoy making their own pizza, something the kids absolutely enjoy. The restaurant now offers

comprised of Neapolitan style pizzas, pastas, mains, appetizers and desserts. Their bestsellers include the Four-Cheese Spinach Pizza, Marianne’s Special, Wood-fired Tomohawk Steak, Wood-Fired Ribs, and their gelatos. The husband-and-wife tandem behind Amare La Cucina, Edmark and Nica Bustos

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Amarealso has branches now in Kapitolyo Pasig, San Juan, La Union, Tagaytay Highlands, Paseo de Sta. Rosa, Naic, Cavite, and Arcovia City. They will also soon open another branch in Tagaytay (near Twin Lakes) and in Calasiao, Pangasinan.Edmark had gone through so many challenges and detours in life. But he says he wouldn’t have it any other way. “

Kung ibinigay agad niGodito sa akin, siguroI won’t have the same mindset I have right now,” he says. It’s a healthy mindset, one that keeps him on his toes. “Since I didn’t study culinary arts, I always have to be better. I always have to work hard,” he says. “I always believed

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