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.

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