Nanay Bebeng Restaurant was founded by Isabel Yuvienco-Garcia and her son, Ramon Teodoro, on January 10, 1997. Isabel, who was fondly called “Nanay Bebeng” by her close friends and relatives, migrated to Davao shortly before the 2nd World War when her husband Delfin, who was a middle-ranking government internal revenue service officer at that time, was transferred to Mindanao.
Nanay Bebeng came from a very business-oriented family from Naic, Cavite. Her family operated a prosperous bakery chain there. When she came to Davao, she naturally brought her business acumen along. Her first business in the city was a small butcher shop at the public market. After the war, she then started a small, home-based catering business that provided services to small government and private functions. With these small endeavors to accompany her husband’s meager government salary at that time, the Garcia couple was able to raise and support seven children.
By 1972, when her husband passed away, Nanay Bebeng started a business that she had been longing for when she first came to Davao – a bakery. Called Gingerbread Bakeshop, the business grew into a bakery chain that became a household name in Davao City during the 70s to the late 90s. Along with the bakery, Nanay Bebeng also expanded her catering services wherein her expertise of Southern Tagalog cuisine became widely known in the City.
By the late 90s, Nanay Bebeng’s only son, Ramon, or “Sonny to his close friends and relatives, pursued the professionalization of his mother’s catering business and, together with his Ilonggo wife Imelda, established the Turo-Turo or Karinderya-type eatery known as Nanay Bebeng Restaurant.
Soon enough, the Southern Tagalog favorites such as the Kare-Kare, Calderetang Baka, Chicharon Bulaklak and Crispy Pata, the Ilonggo’s Pansit Molo, Inasal na Manok and Puto Manapla, plus the Dabawenyo’s very own Kinilaw and Inihaw na Panga ng Bariles, became highly sought after by local diners and visitors alike.
About a year later, the fusion these traditional Southern Tagalog, Ilonggo and Native-Dabawenyo dishes into an eat-all-you-can smorgasbord or buffet became a very huge hit in Davao’s culinary scene. The turo-turo that once was became one of Davao City’s most beloved buffet restaurants, and it still stands today, 23 years later.
Nanay Bebeng Restaurant is now operated by Nanay Bebeng Culinary Enterprises, Inc. (or NBCEI), along with co-business units Nanay Bebeng Catering Services and Nanay Bebeng Express Food Delivery. Managed by the late Ramon and Imelda’s three children, Therese, Theodore and Terence, the company has adopted current culinary techniques and food service industry advancements while maintaining the traditional cuisine that has been passed on for three generations now.
As the late Ramon puts it, “When you dine at Nanay Bebeng, it’s like coming home to a long family tradition. It’s like coming home to my mother’s table. That’s our simple, guiding philosophy.”