S.O.U.L. Café is an acronym for SPICE OF URBAN LIFE. It was established on March 13, 2004 by Amboy and Susan Guevara of Baguio City.
The concept and look of S.O.U.L. Café was a product of Amboy and Susan’s extensive travel to the U.S. and Europe purposely and in part to do research on the American and European concept of a café. Thus, the look and feel of S.O.U.L. Café is influenced in part by a mixture of native American, European and Filipino (Cordillera) culture.
In wanting to create its own distinct identity, separate from existing café’s at the time, S.O.U.L. Café offered in addition to its host of gourmet hot/cold coffee beverages and pastries, pastas such as pasta alfredo, fettuccini putanesca, aglio olio, pesto pasta, and S.O.U.L. Café’s signature pesto bread.
Towards this end and thru the prodding of Amboy’s wife, Amboy enrolled in the Young Culinary Master’s course at the CCA (Center for Culinary Arts) in Quezon City, Metro Manila in the summer of 2003. The skills Amboy learned here proved to be specially useful in the development of S.O.U.L. Café in the following months and years to come.
From its inception, S.O.U.L. Café was envisioned to be a respite from the daily grind of life, specially for its targeted market (initially) the travelers, as a haven for rest, comfort and relaxation with the aim of allowing customers to have a relaxing experience every time (all the time) they stop at the café. To this end, the design of the store was such that distinct personalities/characteristics was created in different areas of the café to cater to the preference and needs of our customers. A mezzanine was specifically designed for low seating, with lots of throw pillows around. A formal dining area was designed immediately on the main entrance of the café and a more laid back area was set up in other corners of the café. On the front and garden area of the café, an al-fresco dining area was also set up specially for the smoking clienteles. The interior of the café as designed by Amboy and Susan with the help of Ms. Pynky Magsino of PNKY’s and Ms. Ella Pinder (who they commissioned to do all the art works), boast a perfect marriage of all the cultures afore mentioned.
From its inception, S.O.U.L. Café was envisioned to be a respite from the daily grind of life…S.O.U.L. CaféAs customers started to become regulars of the café, a need was recognized, brought about by favorable response to its line up of pastas and by requests from its clienteles, for the café to add to its offering, regular meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is here that the café saw the opportunity for growth and started offering gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinner as well. Also, towards the end of continuously pleasing and delighting the customers, S.O.U.L. Café adopted the practice of continuously evolving their menu by always introducing new items on the menu at least every month, maintaining the fast selling items, and removing the slow moving ones. It is this practice that eventually produced some of S.O.U.L. Café’s best seller like the Salpicao Rice, Grilled Rib Eye Steak, Osso Bucco, Seafood Pasta, Kalua Pork and the like.
Still under the concept of continuously delighting its customers, S.O.U.L. Café has undergone continuous renovations to enable the café always to offer something new to its customers.
Because of the café’s dedication to excellence S.O.U.L. Café was awarded the Best Entrepinoy of La Union in February 2007. This award considered among other things the health/sanitation standards, financial viability, product offering, product innovation, etc. The café was also recognized as one of the Top 50 Awesome Philippine Restaurant by top Filipino Blogger, Anton Diaz (http://anton.blogs.com) in 2006 to present. It also won the championship in the 1st Northern Luzon Barista Cup in 2006 at the SM City Baguio. But even before the first store was constructed, S.O.U.L. Café has already shown its dedication to excellence when it won in 2003 and 2004 the first prize in the Best in Garden Café category for its pavilion during the Session Road in Bloom then. This was once again demonstrated during the last Session Road in Bloom when it won 1st place as the Best Decorated Pavilion besting big name participants like Camp John Hay Manor/Le Chef, Mario’s, Villa Cordillera, Gilligans, and the like.
Not forgetting its social responsibility, S.O.U.L. Café has conducted several free Barista Certification and Culinary trainings in Baguio City where it counted among other personalities, professors/educators, deans, engineers, etc., among its list of students/trainees. All this trainings were primarily conducted by S.O.U.L. Café’s head Chef/Barista, Mr. Amboy Guevara.
To date, S.O.U.L. Café is actively putting its effort in branching out in Baguio City and surrounding areas. Also, in its pursuit of ensuring only the finest quality of coffee beans, S.O.U.L. Café is in the process of putting up its own roasting facilities in Baguio City which will also serve as commissary for all the branches that shall be opened in the future.
All of these were done in response to S.O.U.L. Café’s Mission and Vision Statement as follows:
S.O.U.L. Café purchases and process only quality ingredients for all food, beverage and merchandise it offers to its clientele. It also provides a refreshing, clean and relaxing atmosphere on all its store for all its customers to enjoy. It also aims to uplift the moral values of all its customers, employees and all the people it interacts with on a daily basis.
To excel in the food service industry and to uplift the moral values of everyone it networks with.
To make the S.O.U.L. Café brand synonymous to excellent food, excellent service and to make all its stores the preferred place to dine and unwind locally and internationally.