The story behind Cebu’s 'Burgers of Love': Dubby’s Ultimate Burgers

What started as a romantic gesture is now a full-blown burger hotspot in the city of Mandaue, Cebu.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Maimai Maunes had no choice but to work overtime as the chief nurse at the Mandaue City hospital, making sure that her patients are kept safe and isolated.

Feeling her struggle, husband JP Maunes believed he needed to do something immediately to ensure that his wife would stay strong, despite the growing cases even during lockdown.

Taking a swing at old hobbies, JP decided that to support the love of his life, he needed to cook up some original Western-style burgers and make them as delicious as possible. 

“I wanted to make her the best burgers so that every time she takes a bite, she would think about me and that would comfort her,” he said.

Fortunately, JP had the opportunity to go to the US nearly 4 years ago, through a state-funded paralympics training program which was part of his advocacy. During that time, he got the opportunity to taste the best burgers in the US. 

Equipped with the knowledge of how Western-style burgers taste, JP made it his mission to cook his wife burgers with premium ingredients and lots of love. 

MANDAUE'S BURGER KING. JP Maunes with one of his creations. Photo by John Sitchon/Rappler

It became his daily morning routine to make this fancy burger meal that would remind his wife that no matter how tiring and crazy her day gets, she could always look forward to a comforting meal especially made for her.

It didn't take long for his “burgers of love” to draw attention from his friends and his wife’s colleagues at work. What began as a romantic gesture eventually became a sweet enterprise that would help the couple for the rest of the year.

Convinced that the burgers would no longer be just a one-time thing, JP decided to open his business around June 2020 and called it “Dubby’s Ultimate Burgers."

The word "Dubby" came from the couple’s term of endearment for each other, "lovey-dovey."

The growth of Dubby's

From then on, JP would start mixing and making new burger creations and the couple would spend time together to taste-test them. If Merryl gives her approval, the burger is added to the menu. If not, JP goes back to the drawing board.

Eventually, orders soared from 15 to 300 burgers a day. JP found it very difficult to cope with the growing orders since he was just starting out alone. 

Without hesitation, he called on his colleagues at the Philippine Accessible Disability Services Incorporated (PADS) to help employ more people who were looking for jobs.

Since JP was also the CEO of PADS, he wanted to incorporate his advocacy in the business as well so he decided to hire the PWD athletes of the PADS Adaptive Dragonboat Racing Team to become part of the assembly line. 

PWD. The Philippine Accessible Disability Services Incorporated (PADS) is an organization that empowers persons with disabilities through sports and rehabilitation. Photo by John Sitchon/Rappler

JP and Maimai both believe in equal opportunities for all, which is why they made it their goal as well – not just as nurses by profession – to find ways to connect the PWD athletes with jobs. They currently employ 15 PWD athletes and volunteers.

“It takes a type of community to support a business, and it also makes a business capable of making more impacts to the community,” JP said.

COLORFUL KITCHEN. The kitchen includes colorful mural witj Maimai's face, surrounded by like 'inclusion' and 'love.' Photo by John Sitchon/Rappler

“For a business to be sustainable, it has to have realistic impacts on the community. It has to take ownership of the business, something that a community will be proud of,” he added.

Recently, the business added a video tutorial on Filipino Sign Language (FSL) for customers who want to dine-in and communicate with the crew.

Initially, the business started out through online delivery and orders made straight from their official Facebook page and website. However, since more and more customers wanted to go to the physical store, the couple decided it was high time to welcome their doors for dine-in customers.

RESTAURANT. Along the pathway towards the resto are rows of colorful umbrellas suspended in the air that make the place more vibrant. Photo by John Sitchon/Rappler

Today, their once quiet home in Plaridel Street, Mandaue City, is now a makeshift indoor resto, tastefully decorated and perfect for your next Instagram photo.

RESTAURANT. The store is styled as a homey family resto, complete with family pictures and mementos. Photo by John Sitchon/Rappler

While the place itself is beautiful, it’s really the burgers that bring the whole place together. Their best-selling burgers are made with New Zealand grass-fed burger patties, and freshly-baked buns straight from their own kitchen.

BURGER. Their burger set B includes a double cheeseburger, french fries, and a canned soft drink. Photo by John Sitchon/Rappler

For P275, you can enjoy a Double Bacon Cheeseburger that’s served original or with their very own “spicy secret sauce." You can also pair your meal with Authentic Thai Milktea (Cha Yen) for P100 at 16 oz or P115 at 22 oz.

The physical restaurant is open from 10 am to 9 pm. Don’t forget to bring your face masks and face shields!

Ready to make an order now? Check out their menu on their official website, or contact them through their official Facebook page here. –Rappler.com