Sari Sari Store at Grand Central Market

한국말이 보이나 테스트중It’d been a while since my last meal at GCM. What brought me back was the opening of Sari Sari Store, which bowed in mid-July. It’s the brainchild of Margarita Manzke, Pastry Chef and co-owner at République. She’s partnered up with husband Walter and the Sprout Group to bring us a Filipino food stall situated in the old home of Bar Moruno (which shuttered at the end of February). Named after the small neighborhood convenience stores oft encountered in the Philippines, the restaurant focuses its efforts on tapsilog-inspired dishes (fried rice and egg with various proteins).

About the Chef: Marge Manzke grew up in the restaurant biz. Her parents first ran a small fast food joint in Quiapo, then opened up White Rock Resort, a hotel-restaurant outside of Manila, and she worked in the kitchens of both. She eventually moved to London to study at Le Cordon Bleu, and afterward, came to New York to enroll at the Culinary Institute of America. Following graduation, Manzke arrived in LA and found a job at one of the City’s most iconic eateries, Spago. She then became a line cook at Patina, where she soon started dating Walter Manzke, who was the CdC at the time. To avoid any semblance of misconduct, she left Patina and started cooking at Josiah Citrin’s Melisse, where she became sous chef. In 2002, the couple relocated to Carmel and opened three restaurants for David Fink’s Mirabel Hotel & Restaurant Group: Bouchée (2002), L’Auberge Carmel (2004), and Cantinetta Luca (2006). She and Walter returned to the Southland in 2007 and took over the kitchen at Joe Pytka’s Bastide, which had re-opened that September.

Their tenure there was short though, and the duo was out by the following May (ex-Providence CdC Paul Shoemaker subsequently took over). The Manzkes then went to Church & State, with Marge as server/Pastry Chef and Walter as Chef, and stayed until March 2010. Following, they started thinking about Republique (which was supposed to be in the Arts District originally), but before that could happen, the two partnered with Marge’s sister Ana De Ocampo for a project in the Philippines. In 2012, they opened Wildflour Café + Bakery in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, and the concept has since expanded to five locations, with more on the way. In the Manila area they also run Farmacy, an ice cream shop, as well as an outpost of Pink’s Hot Dogs. Getting back to Republique, the restaurant finally opened at the end of November 2013, and quickly established itself as one of the mainstays of the LA dining scene.


So, what do you think ?

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