Filipino barbecue is known for being on the sugary side of sweet. So Bitoy’s Barbecue couldn’t have picked a better place to relocate its business when it moved to the Sugar King Park in China Town.
Bitoy’s Barbecue enjoyed sort of a cult following in the south of Saipan where Reynaldo Faustino opened the food stall in October 2017 with $3,000 of his own money.
“It was a small stand located in San Antonio. I decided to open this business because it is always my passion to provide good products to customers. In 1998, I worked for a barbecue company that was selling at the Street Market,” he said.
Faustino, who everybody now calls Bitoy (an affectionate Filipino nickname) because of how popular his business has become, said he was motivated to be an entrepreneur when he surprisingly made the front page of one of the local newspapers.
“One time, there was a journalist who came at the Street Market to cover an event. The next day, I saw my picture in the newspaper busy barbecuing and surrounded by tourists. That inspired me to do the barbecue business.”
A year into the operations of Bitoy’s Barbecue, however, disaster struck when Super Typhoon Yutu leveled a large portion of Saipan, especially its south side and one of the casualties was Faustino’s barbecue stall.
It was a total loss, as Bitoy’s Barbecue was reduced to kindling and all the meat Faustino was marinating had to be thrown away.
Faustino was ready to move on and even applied for a job at Joeten-Ace Hardware, but his loyal customers kept egging him on to reopen Bitoy’s Barbecue.
“They kept saying, ‘Reopen your barbecue business again. You already have a loyal following and it would be a pity if you give up because your barbecue was really tasty,’” he said.
Good thing, the Saipan Mayor’s Office had several stalls open at the CNMI-Japan Cultural Center in China Town and, for a relatively affordable monthly rental, Faustino decided to make it Bitoy’s Barbecue’s new home.
“We used to average 150 sticks of barbecue a day and now we’re selling more than double that,” he said, overjoyed by Bitoy’s Barbecue’s success at the new location.
The barbecue stall’s bestsellers continue to be its roasted pork belly or liempo and roasted whole chicken. It also sells a variety of barbecue such as pork stick, chicken stick, pork ears, pork intestine (isaw), hotdog on a stick, and chicken leg quarters.
Faustino’s customers also like his grilled tilapia, grilled milkfish, and grilled squid that are stuffed with fresh tomatoes, onions, and other spices.
“Bitoy’s Barbecue serves customers with a passion. We make sure that customers are happy with our services and products. We always talk to them personally and reply to their messages, making sure we hear each and every one of them. That’s how we value our customers,” he said.
Bitoy’s Barbecue is open every day from 12:30pm to 8:30pm. For orders and for more information, call (670) 286-2370.