ESTABLISHED family businesses are typically passed on from one generation to the next. In a very tight-knit Filipino setup, stories on descendants of well-known business clans who became successful in their own rights are very rare. Ryan Jay Dimapilis, chef and president of Balai Palmera Restaurant and Pasalubong Center, is among these rarities.
Coming from a family with esteemed backgrounds in construction, property development and brokerage, the son of Mr. Reynaldo and Mrs. Josefina Dimapilis, has already shown keen interest and inclination in entrepreneurship at a very young age—thanks to his grandmother’s fruit market stall at a local community market, where he spent most of his childhood days learning the ropes of selling goods.
The young man from Silang, Cavite got his inspiration from this experience to take up Business Administration Major in Business Management during his college years. His being persistent and goal-getter, complemented by sheer determination and perseverance, led him to venture into several business franchises, far from the industry his family belongs.
Luckily, his parents and siblings were supportive of his foray to enter the franchising world after finishing his studies. Initially, he acquired a franchise of one of the country’s top dumpling businesses. This led to establishing his own computer shop and digital printing company. Then, he owned other franchise businesses of water station and laundry shop.
“I came to a point in my life, where I thought I should keep grabbing all the opportunities to grow fast, until one day, I realized, I’m making a big mistake. Instead of hurrying to achieve more, I should have just focused on one thing, not just for growth, but also for learning…,” Ryan recalled.
Twist of fate
CONFRONTED by numerous challenges, it thought him a handful of lessons in life. With so much on his plate, he was clueless that he was just about to see the beginning of his life-long journey.
“It was November 2015 when I bravely joined the HMR Philippines Cook-Off Contest. That was the first culinary contest I joined. I have no professional background in cooking then, and submitting my version of Adobong Bukid ng Silang was a long shot. To my surprise, I won third place and this winning gave me that light-bulb moment that eventually led me to culinary school,” he shared.
With his risk-taking and impulsive attitude to take a leap of faith to enroll, this started him to hone a hidden talent and gain confidence to pursue his newfound passion in the food business. So came 2016, he finalized his concept for T-Bone King Steak and Grill. As a headstart, it was doing well pre-pandemic with four branches in Ayala Malls Serin, Ayala Malls Cloverleaf, Ayala Malls Uptown and Robinsons Lipa.
”Unfortunately, we have to close two of our branches during the height of the pandemic to keep the business afloat. Come 2021, with the easing of quarantine protocols, the strong demand came back, which led us to open more branches,” Ryan noted.
T-Bone King Steak and Grill is now a popular steak destination in the south of Metro Manila, offering “good food in a good place for good friends.” It is known for using local produce from Batangas as well as in-demand meat products from the United States and Australia.
Passing the baton
WHILE still pushing his own dream, he goes back to his core. Following the unprecedented success of T-Bone King Steak & Grill, he got surprised by his family entrusting him another project—this time to continue the development and expansion of the Farm Hills Garden Events & Catering owned by the Dimapilises.
According to him, it was a mere small concept among their family and friends that became “a beautiful and lush haven for bridal events.” Ryan said: “This is the fruit of our family’s collective efforts and ideas given our vast backgrounds. We initially just want to provide an alternative wedding venue, which started when my sibling got married in January 2017. In just a few years, this has become one of the sought-after events places as well as a bed and breakfast for metro dwellers who are seeking reprieve from being locked down in Metro Manila for many months due to the pandemic.”
This private enclave in their town offers spacious and relaxing rooms ideal for couples, families and groups. With amenities such as a café, restaurant, game room, and swimming pool, it marries fun and relaxation amidst aesthetic flora that encapsulates Silang’s natural beauty and allure.
“We’re looking forward to more exciting developments in Farm Hills Garden with the addition of more villas as well as a bigger pavilion that could cater to around 200 to 300 people for special life events,” he added.
They have also opened Attique de Bella, a café seated at its topmost location. Customers get to enjoy its Parisian vibe, chic interior and French-inspired menu made perfect with the lush view and cool breeze of their town. “With so much demand for aesthetic interiors among the younger generation, we envisioned Attique de Bella as the perfect place for those trendy occasions may it be with family, friends, or special someone. Attique de Bella is also one of those projects that we never planned to have but it happened, and we’re delighted to see the amazing support from its guests,” he expounded.
THE success of his French-inspired project kicked off Ryan’s another food entity, Ryoukai. Leveraging on one of Asia’s famous cuisines, this restaurant boasts of Japan’s most comforting and well-loved dishes. This Japanese bistro has already gained a big following for its flavorful and filling Tantanmen at its two branches in his place of origin—first in Bypass Road Silang and second in Silang-Santa Rosa Road.
“Ryoukai, which translates to ‘I got it!’ or ‘I understand’ is my affirmative approach to all the blessings that I’ve been receiving since I took this path five years ago. The unexpected growth of my ideas has been tremendously overwhelming, but this won’t stop me from giving my best and offering more to our people,” he said.
Going back to his roots
CATERING to universal palate seemed to have work for Ryan’s entry to the food scene. But this does not have hindered his desire to follow his own taste. The restaurateur’s move to put up a food place to accommodate his kababayans came to fruition when the pandemic hit.
While most businesses were forced to shut down at the height of Covid-19, he got the idea of providing food delivery within the Silang and Tagaytay area so as not affect the livelihood of his employees. And what a better way to feed Filipinos stuck at home during the lockdown periods was by the comfort of their very own food.
Because home is where the heart—and stomach—is, he opened up a 5,000-square-meter space after a few months and turned into what is called now Balai Palmera Restaurant and Pasalubong Center.
“We all know how the pandemic challenged all of us. While we continue to keep everyone safe in our business, I also want to make sure that they’ll have something to feed their families. The creation of Balai Palmera is indeed another blessing because this doesn’t just help us keep our employees but it also gave birth to new Pinoy favorites that I’m sure everyone will love,” he added.
With its refreshing take on Filipino food topped with impeccable local service, it always makes sure that each customer receives a warm and pleasant hospitality and memorable experience. While it only has one branch for now, the Pasalubong Center has two outlets already in Silang that sells Balai’s version of Pinoy’s favorite Buko Pie.
“I just want every restaurant and business that I open to radiate the positivity of life that I have experienced these past years. I’m a firm believer that it’s important to establish a happy environment not just for our customers but also for our employees. I hope that whenever our guests visit T-Bone Steak & Grill, Ryoukai, Balai Palmera, Attique de Bella, and Farm Hills Garden, they would feel and enjoy the blessings that I’m bestowing on our staff and employees even just for a moment of their stay with us,” Ryan stressed.
Image credits: Contributed photo