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MANILA, Philippines – It’s a sad day for the many loyal patrons of Mary Grace Café’s iconic branch in Greenbelt 2, Makati City – the homegrown brand’s flagship store permanently closed its doors on January 2, 2024, after 12 years of service.
The unfortunate closure was confirmed by Adrian Dimacali – the director of Mary Grace Foods, Inc. and the son of Mary Grace herself – on Facebook on Tuesday, January 9. In his post, he recounted the origin story of Mary Grace’s Greenbelt 2 space, which opened in May 2011. He shared that is was the brand’s first “large format space” then, with a seating capacity of 159 guests and a total leased floor of 303.95 square meters (of which 53.92 was ground floor, 76.50 was mezzanine, and 73.53 was al fresco). It was also Mary Grace’s fourth branch in Ayala Malls and its seventh café overall.
Prior to it being Mary Grace, the space was first occupied by former tenant Pepato, a fine dining concept by Chef Margarita Fores of Cibo fame.
“It was my younger brother Gabby who believed in and fought for signing this space. I told him it was too big and that we should stick to small, efficient spaces. I told him, “If the esteemed Gaita didn’t want that space anymore, why should we?'” Dimacali wrote.
“As it turns out, with a little patience and a lot of faith, Greenbelt 2 became our strongest branch. Even as we opened new cafés that were bigger and more eye-catching, this grand old dame would come out on top year after year,” he added.
Greenbelt 2 is set to undergo redevelopment, and so the logo, signage, equipment, furniture, fixtures, toys, books, spiritual objects, hanging lamps, and mechanical birds of Mary Grace’s branch had to be taken away to be part of new cafés.
“Only a shell remains now. And even that will be gone soon,” Dimacali wrote.
Mary Grace’s Greenbelt branch was his family’s “gold standard,” and what helped them see “what was possible.”
“She was an academy and a proving ground for our managers today. She gave us wings to fly. She pushed us to dream big. She made us believe. Now she is gone, and things will never be the same, at least not for me,” he added.
In a separate Facebook post, the brand reassured patrons that this is just the start of “new beginnings,” and that Mary Grace is relocating to a new space in Greenbelt 5.
“Thank you to everyone who came through our doors in our first flagship. It was an absolute honor having you spend time with us. To our team and to the many leaders who sprung from the challenge of Greenbelt 2, hats off to you and thanks for the many years of friendship,” the post read.
Mary Grace – known for “freshly baked goodness daily” – first rose to fame for its ensaymadas, cheese rolls, and cakes. Matriarch Mary Grace started selling her homemade ensaymadas in bazaars before selling them at her first mall kiosk at Glorietta 4 in 2000. In 2004, the family opened the first Mary Grace café and has been serving other crowd-favorite, best-selling baked goodies since then, as well as hot meals, sandwiches, pasta, and more. They now have several branches in and outside Metro Manila. – Rappler.com