- Category: Special Advertising Feature
06 Jan 2017
- Text & imagery by Junhan B. Todiño - email@example.com - Variety News Staff
D’ELEGANCE Café continues to serve the island community 30 years after its grand opening on July 8, 1986.
Located at the heart of Saipan’s business district, the restaurant owned by Julieta and Wilson Cunanan started as a small eatery that served rice porridge and some Filipino dishes.
Mrs. Cunanan said when she was still a college student in the Philippines, she frequented a small establishment called “Elegance Restaurant.”
“It was a very clean, simple restaurant with great customer service,” she added. So when she and her husband decided to go into the restaurant business on Saipan, they named it “D’Elegance.”
In the mid- to late-1980s, Mrs. Cunanan said, the local economy was booming and there were many development projects being undertaken.
She said their restaurant became so popular among Filipinos, locals and tourists that they had to extend their business hours from 10 to 24 each day.
“People were lining up,” she recalled.
Emily Cabrera, the owner’s sister, said the restaurant became known for stewed beef in peanut sauce, roast pig and crispy deep fried pork belly dishes.
Eventually, the restaurant started serving different kinds of Asian and Western dishes.
“At present, we serve non-stop 14 to 18 dishes every day and five choices of delicacies and sweet treats,” Cabrera said.
D’Elegance had to face many challenges, but through it all, it continued serving delicious dishes at affordable prices, she added.
In the mid- to late-1990’s, when the island economy was at its peak, D’Elegance started giving free salad and soup to its customers.
Despite the economic downturn, that generosity has continued, and they provide even more to their customers during special occasions such as Thanksgiving, Cabrera said.
D’Elegance is also involved in many community events, sponsoring the programs and projects of various non-profit organizations and churches.
“It is our intention to always give back to the community,” Cabrera said, adding that they also patronize local farmers.
In the past, the restaurant management sponsored shows or concerts that featured off-island celebrities.
This year, Cabrera said they are venturing into food catering due to the growing demand for it.
“We have been in business for a long time now and we have established our name and the quality of our food, and we also have regular customers who want our service in a different way,” she said, referring to catering.
Cabrera said they have started the expansion of their 80-seat restaurant which can now accommodate 50 more customers and allow D’Elegance to host birthday parties and other special family and business events.
In addition, D’Elegance Cafe is serving about 400 employees of Best Sunshine International, and the restaurant management is interested in offering the same service to other companies.
Cabrera said they are also providing catering services to one of the Saipan sunset cruise ferry boats, serving from 50 to 80 clients every day.