At this time and age when even you can make excellent pizzas by just watching a Youtube video, “thin-crust” can no longer be a pizza place's sole unique selling proposition. Handuraw
, a Cebu restaurant, takes pizza selling to the next level by rallying a cause. That is, to support and uplift the local music scene while answering to everyone's pizza craving.
During the day, Handuraw's main branch sits quietly in a two-storey, 50 year-old house along Gorordo Avenue
. Inside is a spacious and dark wooden dining space that's oblivious even to the brightest noontime sunlight. There are rattan chairs, ceiling fans, and china cabinets as expected of an ancestral home. A number of paintings (some of them are Malang reprints) adorn the walls. Upstairs, where the windows are sans tint, is a brighter space that invites lingering. Walls in this level serve as background for mementos of the different important music events that transpired in this haven for Cebuano bands.
At night though, Handuraw paints a totally different picture. What's dark and spacious in daytime, is now rosy, happy, and packed. Check it out come sundown and chances are, you'll be rubbing elbows with a tipsy rocker or maybe some dreadlocked dude-- depends on what night you come in. On Mondays and Tuesdays, audiophiles flock to Handuraw for their open mic acoustic nights. Wednesdays are reserved for fans of haranas and original Cebuano music. This also doubles as a night of laughter as comedic duo Sam Costanilla and Max Daloydoy Andrino regularly join the haranistas on stage. Thursdays are for the Jacob's Ladder band, while Fridays are dedicated to up and coming local acts.
“We really started out as an events cafe. Our family has always been supportive of the local band community,” Eric Smith
, Handuraw's Managing Director explained. “The pizza part of the business came a little later, when we were thinking of what to serve our patrons. A research suggested that pizza is the universally craved for dish so we went on learning how to make great pizzas,” he continued.
And learn to make great pizzas, Handuraw did. The result is their signature pizza: 12 inches, with minimum charring, and just a few millimeter thinner than a cracker. It's also good to note that their slices are finger-friendly-- not at all oily and are still even powdery.
Pizzas here range from conventional to experimental. Because of this, the half-and-half toppings option is popular, especially with so many exciting ingredients. One no-fail combo is the Handuraw Special- Pizza Cebuana duo
Atop the Handuraw Special (P348)
--the name bearer and best-seller, are a handful of requisite pizza ingredients: pepperoni, sausages, ham, bacon, mushroom, bell peppers, and the works. On the other side of the fence, on top of the Pizza Cebuana (P358)
, are mildly spiced chorizo de Cebu bits surrounded by kesong puti and Mozzarella cheese base.
Pizza prices in Handuraw are reasonable so why not pair your order with an appetizer or two? The Chili Chips (P78)
uses the same dough mixture as the pizzas. Served with it is a dollop of extra hot salsa that will pump up your appetite.
Non-chili fans on the other hand will like Handuraw's Chicken Fingers (P118)
and Potato Jojos (P78)
-- both of which are good to be shared by two to three people.
In a little less than a decade, the family-owned company was able to grow the brand into eight branches (four in Manila, three in Cebu, and one in Davao). Yes, its success can be attributed to Handuraw's truly competitive pizzas but their good deed in their mission to uplift local Filipino talents is worth noting as well. Eric, who almost grew alongside the brand says this perfectly in his statement: “We are where we are today as one of the best tasting thin crust pizzas in town because we are more than just a pizza place. We support the local music scene. We support the local artists.”