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In addition, enjoy other promos as Di’ Mark’s gives away food coupons to loyal customers for dine-in freebies like pasta or a hero meatball sandwich for every large pizza purchased. Or other freebies like two servings of Soup (mushroom, or soup of the house) or one dessert (Chocolate ice box fudge or their classic Cheese cake.)
Named after their youngest boy in a brood of five. Di’ Mark’s started out as a home–grown Business. Marrying a Filipina bride and setting up their household in 1950’s New York, American soldier Arturo Fernandez adapted to civilian life, taking up work in a sausage company and mingling with his Italian neighbors on weekends as he took it upon himself to knead pizza dough while his wife created a rich tomato sauce from scratch.
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). With the students, teachers and parents that frequented the area, the family had a ready market that understood what pizzas were all about, even if it was considered a novelty item by most Filipinos.
Starting off with their first offering, the Menlo Special, a three-cheese pizza consisting of grated cheese, melted mozzarella and cubes of native kesong puti- the little pizza garden the Fernandez’s established with a few borrowed tables and chairs in their own home began to gain popularity. From there, family members chipped in their contributions to the menu, like the cheesecake derived from an aunt’s recipe. Or relatives would experiment with unusual combinations to create items like the Taco Pizza, featuring a freshly grated layer of cheese on top of ground meat, the tomato sauce and a crisp pizza layer. Even failed experiments would net them delicious rewards, such as the Chocolate Ice Box Fudge, which was supposed to be a brownie experiment that went wrong. But was saved with the judicious application of fudge and cream- and the cherry on the top certainly makes it very attractive.
Arturo’s experience in the sausage factory gained the family the unique flavor present in the homemade sausages in their pizzas, particularly the one named after their patriarch: Don Arturo, a pizza combining diced green bell pepper, sliced mushrooms and delectable slice of Italian sausage, now made by the Di’ Mark’s commissary, which delivers the goods frequently to every branch so supplies don’t run out.
Di’ Mark’s soon became a destination for families who wanted a good meal together, or for couples that wanted a little Italian ambiance in their diet.
Today, every branch of Di’ Mark’s has it’s own individual character. The smallest branch I’ve seen so far is in Wack-Wack, just behind the Petron Station on the road leading to the country club. Small and cozy, it focuses its efforts on delivering fresh and hot’ as to customers in Mandaluyong, Pasig and San Juan- but still has a few tables and chairs for those who want to temporarily escape the summer heat outside. The largest may be their Greenbelt outlet, with its tarps proclaiming happy hour specials- the only Di’ Mark’s to have an extensive bar list (so customers can discover the award winning skills of bartender). The Taft outlet is not too far from schools like Arellano Law and DLSU, while the Morato branch is just discreetly tucked away, just in the same vicinity as Alfredo’s.
It was Arturo and Lita’s daughter, Nina Fernandez-Assad, who took the initiative to buy the business from the family and had it move toward being a more professionally run enterprise –even when it was still being managed by daughters Kristine and Kathleen. Kristine kindly answered a questioned that had hounded me through my childhood: who was the bald man in the Di’ Mark’s logo? Her reply: “My grandfather, Arturo, the American soldier.”
The business may possibly extend to the fourth generation, as Kristine’s young son Lucas has his own favorite from the Di’ Mark’s menu aside from pizza: their Bistek, served with rice. But whether they’re improving on tradition or holding on to it, the keepers of the Di’ Mark’s legacy must be doing something right, since it’s a name long associates with quality and the assurance that you can’t go wrong ordering something your dad or granddad once had.