A slice of Mexico in Cebu

By Cris Evert B. Lato-Ruffolo |December 29,2017 - 09:34 PM

Lyka Flare Ruela (CDN Photo / Christian Maningo)

ANOTHER delightful slice of Mexico is being served to Cebuanos at the Bonifacio District on F. Cabahug St. in Cebu City.

Mooon Café, run by the widely successful Pages Holdings Inc. (PHI), opened its seventh restaurant before 2017 ends, expanding its reach as Cebu’s homegrown, Mexican-inspired restaurant.

The lady at the helm is Lyka Flare Ruela, a 22-year-old Fine Arts major in Cinema graduate of the University of San Carlos whose family is in the construction industry before their first foray in the food business.

“We are regular customers of Mooon Café almost every Saturday in the last five years. We love the food and the servings. It is a brand familiar to our family,” said Lyka.

The restaurant covers an area of 151 square meters and can seat 50 to 70 people at one time.

The location, Bonifacio District, is an up-and-coming leisure and dining spot in the city.

Lyka said it was her father Frederick, an electrical engineer and the main man behind Easylink Process Control and Engineering, who encouraged her to run their first food business.

She is the third of five siblings which include twins Leslie and Liezl, Lyhlet and Louis.

The initial plan was to become a franchisee of a fast food chain, but the Ruela family realized it was not the perfect fit.

“There is a long list of requirements that needs to be complied and it took time for them to respond to us. It felt like they are not interested,” she shared.

In the beginning, operating a restaurant was not a task that Lyka took seriously given that she was interested in the film industry.

But on one Saturday, when they were dining at the Mooon Café branch in SM City Cebu, Lyka said her father brought up the possibility of being a franchisee of Mooon Café.

That idea became a reality starting with a text message and a phone call made to PHI vice president John Pages in February 2017.

She said the process from first contact to the opening of the restaurant was smooth and swift.

She said they signed the contract with PHI in May 2017.

Construction started in August 2017 with design and concept as product of the collaborative work between Architect Dominic Baladya and PHI.

“You can choose any restaurant when you dine in Cebu but when you say ‘home,’ it means a deeper experience. I think Mooon Café means home to many Cebuanos,” Lyka said on her confidence about running a Mooon Café restaurant.

Lyka said she is learning the ropes in running a restaurant business.

Owning a franchise helps the newbie restaurant owner.

“Franchising is not just about using the name and the brand. There is a system in place that works, and Pages (Holdings Inc.) promised full support
and they guided us every step of the way,” she said.

Running a food business can be overwhelming; that is why Lyka’s strategy is to learn about one aspect of the business one day at a time.

“I was used to being behind the spotlight, so managing this restaurant is a learning process,” said Lyka.

Mi Amigos Platter

There are plans to open another restaurant but Lyka sees the need to “fortify the groundwork” first and see how this maiden restaurant venture will perform.

The restaurant is a proud venue of a mural art by Cebuano painter/muralist/street artist Jayson “Daot” Bacunador (https://www.facebook.com/DAOTART) which, in itself, is worth the visit.

Daot’s art perfectly imbibed the new look of the restaurant with its signature orange walls and festive atmosphere.

Not to be missed are the latest Mooon Café dishes of Cheesy Ribs, Ole Guacamole Nacho Chips and Taco Spaghetti, which will truly give its diners—friends, families and workmates alike—value for money.

Combo sets meant to be enjoyed by groups of four or five people include the classic favorites of Mexican baby back ribs, Mooon steak, pork barbecue and fried chicken, to name a few.

Inside this Mooon Café branch, located within Bonifacio District, is a little slice of Mexico sprinkled with classic Cebuano warmth and hospitality.
Be sure to come and dine here.

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