Meet the Amigas Who Opened Abli Cebu

Meet the Amigas Who Opened Abli Cebu

Good friends Alyssa Dayot and Karen Abello level up their friendship by showcasing Cebu's unique flavors in Abli.

Climaco Street in Capitol Site is the birthplace of hole-in-a-wall restos that eventually grew to bigger restaurants and even national brands!

What makes the street charming is the occasional old houses that lined up the area amidst restaurants. It took us a long time to find Abli Cebu as they don’t have signage which makes it more exciting! We are relying on the facade we saw on TikTok. It turns out that they close their black gate before they open.

Womentrepreneurs Alyssa Dayot and Karen Abello’s popular bestsellers like Ginabot sa Abli and Morta have been making the rounds on social media. True to their Cebuano brand, their menu has Cebuano names of their dishes. They definitely reimagined comfort favorites such as Champorado into cold brew and Buko Pie coffee.

Let us get to know the Abli Cebu amigas and where they get their inspiration for their creations.

How and why did you start your business?

The birth of Abli Cebu was a result of a “Eureka!” moment by one of our brilliant part-owners, who just so happens to be our head chef. After struggling on a quest for a restaurant that would serve up local delights with a modern twist, she raised an eyebrow and thought, “Why not start one?”

And voilà! Abli came to life–a culinary creation we lovingly describe as “a second look at Cebuano cuisine.” Our goal is to showcase the unique flavors of Cebu in a new and exciting way, and we believe that our restaurant is starting to slowly make that shift.

What do you like most about what you do?

We love the opportunity to interact with our customers and teammates daily. We believe that there is always something new to learn, whether it’s about a unique skill or a flavor combination, or an ingredient that we’ve never tried before. Our customers and teammates inspire us to constantly innovate and experiment with our dishes.

While our work can be stressful at times, we try to approach it with a positive attitude and playfulness. At Abli, we don’t strive for perfection, we aim to create an atmosphere that’s relaxed and enjoyable for our Amigos. We believe that this mindset allows us to be more creative and open-minded when it comes to trying out new ideas.

Ultimately, our goal is to create food that brings people a sense of joy and comfort. We want our customers to feel like they’re at home when they dine with us.

How do you overcome the challenges when it comes to running your business?

Running a business is always challenging, but we are lucky to have a team that’s dedicated to delivering a fun and unique experience for our customers. As business owners, we started out as really good friends, which makes it easy for us to communicate and work through any worries or problems that come up. We have years of experience getting to know each other’s personalities, quirks, and triggers. We understand what makes each other happy, mad, and sad, and we know how to support each other when someone isn’t feeling their best.

In addition, we are also honored to work with a hard-working and dedicated Abli team. We believe that teamwork is essential to overcoming the daily challenges that come with running a business, and we make sure to foster a positive and supportive atmosphere for everyone on our team.

We are grateful for the opportunity to do what we love and share our passion for food with our community.

What would you say is your greatest strength as a business owner?

Our greatest strength as business owners is being receptive to feedback and open to collaboration. We believe that feedback is essential to improving our restaurant and delivering a better experience for our customers. We take every piece of feedback seriously and assess whether there are changes we need to make or new items we should add to our menu. By staying open-minded, we’re able to continually evolve and improve our restaurant.

We also value our team members as individuals, rather than just “workers.” Each member of our team brings unique skills, talents, and ideas to the table, and we try to foster a collaborative atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable sharing their suggestions and feedback. We believe that our team members are essential to the success of our business, and we make sure to treat them with the respect and appreciation that they deserve.

One of our favorite things to do is to collaborate with our team when coming up with new menu items. By working together, we are able to create dishes that are innovative and unique. We believe that this approach allows us to stay fresh and exciting.

You’ve managed to create a sense of community with your patrons. What is your secret to fostering these relationships?

At Abli, we try to create a welcoming and warm atmosphere for our customers. We treat them like friends and family, not just customers—that’s why we like to call our customers “Amigos”. We take the time to get to know them, learn their names, and make them feel comfortable.

We also try to be consistent with our food and service quality, so they can trust us to deliver an enjoyable experience every time they visit. Additionally, we listen to their feedback and take it into consideration to improve our offerings and service. All these factors together have helped us build a sense of community with our patrons.

Any advice for anyone who wants to pursue their own business venture?

Starting a business is not something to take lightly. If you’re considering starting your own business, make sure it’s something that you’re truly dedicated to. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and sacrifices along with many obstacles to build a successful business.

One of the most important things you can do is to have a clear sense of purpose and a strong belief in what you’re doing. When the going gets tough (and they will), your purpose will help you stay motivated and focused on your goals.

It is important to remember that building a business takes time and patience, and success doesn’t happen overnight.

Another key factor in building a successful business is to treat it like your own child. Just as you would care for and nurture a child, you need to do the same for your business. This means taking care of every aspect of the business, from finances and operations to marketing and customer service. You need to be willing to put in the time and effort to make your business thrive.

Finally, it’s important to be resilient and adaptable. There will be setbacks and failures along the way, but it’s how you respond to those challenges that will determine your success. Stay open-minded, and be willing to pivot when necessary. With hard work, dedication, and a clear sense of purpose, you can build a successful business that you can be proud of.