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The Italians invented it, the whole world loves it, and now restaurants are churning out hundreds of it everyday.
Pizza has so much sparked the Filipino’s creativity that, you’ll be amazed at the countless flavors available for it.
However, our delicious pizza tradition didn’t only come from the Italian and many pizza joints in fact, we have our own history of how pizza was formally introduced here in Manila.
The very first pizza that our parents and grandparents enjoyed were from Di’ Mark’s Pizza Garden, opened in 1957 by a Filipino family that shares a passion for food.
“ I was smelling pizzas from our kitchen since I was four,” recalls Nina Fernandez-Assad, one of the daughters of Arturo and Lita Fernandez, who opened Di’ Mark’s 46 years ago. After more than four decades, Nina is now serving the same home-cooked pizza goodness she learned from her parents, as she and her children recently opened Di’ Mark’s pizza restaurant in its new location in Greenbelt 3, Makati.
“ We’re still serving my mothers original pizza recipe and our old patrons can attest to this,” Nina adds it was in fact upon the insistent request of their old customers that Nina decided to re open Di’ Mark’s.
TOQUE OF THE TOWN
By: Ed Quimson
A few of my buddies (Yoying Pimentel, Cindy Syjuco and Benji Luna) and I decided to have some pizza one day, so we went on a little sojourn all the way to Di’ Mark’s.
The traffic in Makati Avenue was, as usual, bumper to bumper. Not having been to Di’ Mark’s for quite some time, it was pleasant to see that the place was just as I remember it to be- checkered table cloths topped with red ones adorned with red candles in Chianti bottles. The wooden ceiling is lined with beams. Strung garlic and pepper hung on the walls. The entire ambience gives the atmosphere of a pizzeria in the back streets of Rome.
Di’ Mark's menu is quite extensive, so we hard a hard time deciding what to order. For starters, I had the Antipasto platter-an array of assorted greens dotted with olives, pickled mushrooms, sardines, cheese, pepperoni, salametti and garlic bread.
The presentation of the food was reminiscent of Florence, Tuscany, Venice, Milan and other quaintly exotic getaways in Italy- likewise with the taste. The marinade of the vegetables was light and tasty.
Yoying had cheesy onion- a rich soup made of sautéed onion with spices and top with plenty of grated cheese. Excellent and very flavorful! Benji (who is forever on a diet) just ordered fried mushrooms with garlic, but ate the entire dish with such gusto! I could not resist a taste. True enough, the mushrooms were indeed succulent and tasty, with lots of garlic and peppered with chili. Cindy went for a hearty main dish, the Bistecca ala Paulina- tender slices of beef sirloin sautéed in butter with onions and sliced French Fries Potatoes, and which comes with cream of vegetable soup and a basket of garlic bread.
“Daughter Nina recalls that due to her mom’s Pinoy hospitality, every kid drawn to their yard by the smell of baking pizza got a slice. It was pretty much a no-brainer to go into the restaurant business, as their home was conveniently situated near the American School (the predecessor of the International School).”
Started 50 years ago, Filipinos got their first taste of authentic American-style pizzas thanks to Di’ Mark’s. A food business whose reins are currently being handed from the second to the third generation, this family-run enterprise will be celebrating its golden anniversary with an unusual promo on April 1.
Dine-in customers will be treated to 50% off Di’ Mark’s pizzas, offering an opportunity for many pizza connoisseurs in Manila to re-live the good old days of dining at an establishment known for items like the Menlo special, Don Arturo Pizza, Taco Pizza, The Mad Scramble and “22” (no this, is not a spin-off series from the TV show “24”- it denotes the number of toppings on a single pizza).
By: JOY ANGELICA SUBIDO
MAY 3, 2007
Four-year- old Lucas Gimenez likes lots of ham and cheese in his pizza. To make sure that he gets exactly what he wants, he heads towards the Di’ Mark’s kitchen where he confidently assembles his pizza for the day. “No onions,” he vehemently states, pushing aside a bowl containing slices of the strongly aromatic, bulbous vegetable aside. Lucas concentrates on heaping more meat and cheese toppings on the tomato sauce covered pizza dough, making the rich concoction appear even more appetizing. For this preschooler, making pizza is both a fun-filled activity and serious play. As a fourth generation pizza maker, he embodies the future of the family-owned Di’ Mark’s chain of pizza restaurants.
“I can really remember how old was when I started playing around and making pizza, but I was also really young,” says Lucas’ mom Kristine Gimenez. She recalls that the commissary for the restaurants was always located in the house, and the children were encouraged to make their own pizzas. Since learning pizza making was considered play and the children were never forced or required to work in the restaurants, hanging out volunteering to work in Di’ Mark’s was always a happy endeavor that they always enjoyed. And thus, Kristine encourages her son to have fun in the Di’ Mark’s kitchen nowadays.