A little after you pass the San Jose intersection north bound on Beach Road, a colored and bright signage will catch your eye across the sea that reads Bolis R Us II. For old-timers, they know that this restaurant carries the local flavor they crave for and love. For the young generation, Bolis R Us is an opportunity for them to find out what food and taste their grandparents or parents grew up with.
Owner Tracy Pangelinan said that opening Bolis R Us is a tribute to her father, the late Herman Pangelinan. “Bolis is my father’s family name…he passed away in 1993 and bringing all this together feels like I just want to bring him back—his memories and the food that he prepared and cooked… My dad is known for his empanadas… he and his cousin also cooked other dishes and started selling it… I believe this was in 1973,” she said.
“The dishes were prepared in humble and simple means—just lunches wrapped in foil… Many people recall those days and wishing we could bring back those days… especially the jukebox that everybody loved in Pangelinan’s Store in Chalan Kanoa (now Terry’s Snack Bar),” she added.
The Bolis R Us’ signature empanada is filled with corned beef. They are fried, tasty, and can be eaten as a meal or a snack. “This is my dad’s original recipe and we did not change anything…we cook it fresh everyday, put 35 to 40 pieces of them on a tray and sometimes we sell seven batches of those in one day,” Pangelinan said.
“To be honest, I eat an empanada every single day. People would think I would be over it by now or just eat once in a while but I do have one everyday. I never get tired of it because I grew up with that. My dad used to make me giant empanadas. I like it with cinnamon sugar and I am really glad the community loves its taste to this day,” she added.
Bolis R Us II is also a place where you can dine-in or take-out. Aside from empanadas, they offer a wide range of dishes and snacks that makes them your new one-stop shop in satisfying that craving for any dish—Japanese, Filipino, and most especially local food. “We have local soul food like chicken curry, Chamorro beef steak, and another one of my dad’s recipe, beef with Ragu sauce…No one really sells local food here so I want people to know they can find it here,” Pangelinan said.
“I get compliments from people that come here like that it feels so good in here, the ambiance is perfect and I attribute that for my love of the ocean…I’m a master trained diver and a recipient of the 2020 Environmentalist Award as I have led clean-up drives on the beach and ocean that is why I chose a nautical theme for the restaurant,” Pangelinan added.
Bolis R Us II follows health and safety protocols, have lunch specials that start at $5 for one choice, $6.50 for two choices, and $7.50 for three choices, and according to Pangelinan, future plans include opening other Bolis R Us II branches on Saipan. “A restaurant in Chalan Kanoa in mid-February when students come back for school in Hopwood and in two months I plan to open in Garapan with a drive-thru… I also plan to be at every corner, just sort of to remind people ‘hey, are you hungry yet?’ People could be driving with no motivation to cook at home because they are probably tired from work and they see me and think ‘why not order from Bolis?” she said.
“We are also working to be a part of the ProaPerks program of the Northern Marianas College. I was a teacher and I know offering discounts or incentives to students help them get motivated to do their best and it is also like a reward because these students work so hard,” she added.
Overall, Pangelinan grew up with the love for local food from her father and a keen business sense from her mother who owns Terry’s Snack Bar in Chalan Kanoa. “This is a dream come true for me… I used to just sell dinner at my sister’s restaurant in Kagman when I didn’t have this yet… We opened in early January… I feel really good and glad of God’s glory,” she said
“I wish people that have been to the restaurant would tell other people what we have here… what we are working hard for… I say this because they trust us as we’ve been around forever and we will take care of them,” she added.
Bolis R Us is located along Beach Road, Chalan Lau Lau beside Char’s Grocery. They are open Monday-Saturday from 7am to 9pm. For more information, call (670) 235-6685 or (670) 285-6684. They are also on Facebook and Instagram: BolisRUs II.