Rocco’s backyard kItchen + brew
Rocco Nacino made headlines last November when he donned cap and toga, not for a TV role, but for a reallife achievement. The actor graduated cum laude from the St. Bernadette of Lourdes College in Quezon City, where he took up a master’s degree in nursing. Rocco, who worked as a nurse before he entered showbiz, revealed on Instagram that he’d spent “a crazy two years… balancing everything.”
And by “everything,” Rocco meant more than school and showbiz. He also has his business ventures. The busy bee co-owns the third and newest branch of Backyard Kitchen + Brew, located at the Uptown Mall in the Bonifacio Global City complex, Taguig City.
The restaurant-bar has a long list of investors, including celebrities Rico Blanco, Sam YG, Jugs Jugueta, and Paolo Paraiso. Rocco is a new addition to the group. He clarifies that he isn’t part of
the main barkada, who came up with the restaurant’s concept and put up the first branch at the UP Town Center on Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, back in 2014.
“I was able to join for the BGC group here,” says Rocco. “I was lucky enough to be chosen na mapasama dito, kasi they filter the partners that they think will be beneficial.”
The actor says that he was a big fan of Backyard Kitchen + Brew even before he became an investor. “I really believed in the brand. And sabi ko, okey ’to. Okey ’yong partners, lahat gumagalaw.” So when he heard that the group was planning to add a third branch, he approached his good friend Paolo Paraiso and offered to invest in the business. “They gladly said yes.”
Since then, Rocco has been handson in the business, particularly in marketing the restaurant. These days, photos of Backyard Kitchen’s specialties have their place on the actor’s Instagram feed. But for Rocco, the best weapon for
marketing is still word of mouth—which he considers old-school but effective.
“It would entail inviting the right people, let’s say celebrities who are more popular than me,” he explains. “Lalo na, what I do is I treat them to dinner here. Of course, I’ll have photos with them. Something as simple as that. We’ll have people curious na ‘Uy, pumunta pala si ano dito. Tara, punta tayo.’ Or ‘He got to bring this person here, this guy or this girl here, tara punta tayo.’”
It’s evident that the actor has given the business plenty of thought—which, in his opinion, is the right way to go about any investment.
“That’s our job as investors. We make sure na as investors hindi lang kami nagpasok ng pera, ’tapos naghihintay na lang ng return on investment, ng dividends. We work for it.”
With so many responsibilities under his belt, how does Rocco manage to balance it all?
“I don’t know,” he says honestly, laughing. “I don’t know where I get my energy from… It’s just a matter of time management or waking up each day and checking your schedule and knowing what to do, and prioritizing what you have to do.”
So, yes, all this work may be exhausting. But for Rocco—actor, nurse, and businessman—nothing beats the sense of fulfillment that he feels, especially after a productive day.
“When you put your heart and soul into it, mas masarap ang balik sa ’yo, e.” Backyard Kitchen + Brew specializes in comfort food— familiar dishes that remind one of home. “If you look at the menu, para lang ano, lutong bahay with a twist,” Rocco says. “May pagka-Americanized ang dating. That’s why they chose Backyard as the name of the restaurant.”
So the next time you feel homesick, you might want to try these dishes: 1 Waffle Breaded Fried Chicken; 2 Slow Roasted Pork Belly with Mac & Cheese; 3 Mac and Cheese Nachos; 4 the Starter Platter, which includes Steak & Bacon Flatbread (top) and Caesar Steak Salad + Buffalo Tenders (bottom); 5 Salted Egg Chicken Skin; 6 Pizzookie, an ice-creamtopped cookie dessert that’s as large as a pizza; 7 Salted Egg Chicken Skin Flatbread; and 8 Margarita fishbowl.
The restaurant interiors are bright and inviting, an eclectic take on the industrial design trend that has risen to popularity in the past few years. Exposed pipes, painted in sea green, yellow, orange, and brown, wrap around the bar counter, while...
Backyard Kitchen + Brew has a whole selection of drinks, from classic beers and liqueurs to more adventurous options such as the Margarita Fishbowl cocktail that Rocco is holding. The cocktail consists of a classic margarita (made with tequila and...
Rocco just can’t have enough of the Waffle Breaded Fried Chicken and the Salted Egg Chicken Skin, both of which he scarfs down during and after his photo shoot.