After several months of renovation work that started before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Tan Marikita’s Café of Herman’s Modern Bakery along Airport Road reopened its doors yesterday to welcome old and new patrons to a bigger and bright café.
The grand reopening of the café, which is adjoined to the bakery’s to-go counter, was attended by many elected officials, community members, and loyal customers, who welcomed the café’s spacious look and airy interiors and the aroma of brewedg coffee and freshly baked bread and pastries.
“Our café has definitely gotten bigger so we can accommodate more people enjoy while they eat their breakfast and lunch,” said HMB operations assistant production manager Daryl Deleon Guerrero. “It’s a great change because you can enjoy your meal without someone lean over them to get a sweet bread or [loaf of bread from] the shelves.”
“We look at this as a great achievement and it is something that we are very proud…because this is our grandpa’s and grandma’s legacy. I really wish they were here to see this but I know they are looking down at us from the heavens. …I really do hope that the people of the CNMI do come by and enjoy their cup of coffee with a package of sweet bread,” Deleon Guerrero added.
When you walk in, you will see racks of bread and cookies on the left side and the choices of cakes, donuts, and other pastries on the right. Walk through those and you will enter the adjacent café, which can accommodate 40 people right now but can seat more when the limited seating capacity rule is lifted.
“We adhere to Occupational Safety and Health Administration and COVID-19 Task Force standards for the safety of our employees and customers. All tables and chairs are 6 feet apart to promote social distancing,” Deleon Guerrero said “As for the community’s favorites, they are available as we are keeping the traditional classic dishes that our grandparents passed on to us, like Pan Tun Herman Pan’s Amotsa that has two soft-boiled or poached eggs, bacon, sweet bread with butter and jelly, Tan Marikita’s Amotsa that has fried rice, chorizo espaniot, 2 eggs cooked in any style, sweet bread with butter and jelly and the famous Chamorro breakfast that has steamed or fried rice (Tan Marikita’s style) Portugese sausage or spam, 2 eggs any style, sweet bread with butter and jelly,” De Leon added.
Saipan Mayor David Apatang, who is a regular at Tan Marikita Café, is happy to see the café up and running again. “Finally after Super Typhoon Yutu and even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the café is open again, ready to welcome and serve the community. I come here most of the time for breakfast because I really enjoy the sweet bread and scrambled eggs. My family has been patronizing Herman’s for the longest time, whether it’s bread, apple pie, or turkey during Thanksgiving,” he said
Another early bird at the opening was Hyatt’s executive sous chef Zen Tomokane. “In times like these, it is nice see people in the business community still trying their best to expand, stay open and bring back to the community and Herman’s Modern Bakery is one of the staples here in the CNMI,” he said. “I’m here to buy some bread and make sure we can support all local businesses in the community.”
HMB general manager Anne G. Hayes said that the renovation of the café faced many challenges. “With the pandemic, many plans got pushed back. …There were a lot of restless nights and stress but now we are here celebrating our grand opening…The good thing about Herman’s is that we are in the food industry and, even with the pandemic, people will still be buying food,” she said.
“As for employees…I am happy that we did not relieve anybody. There was a short-term furlough but we called them back and gave them an option. … All our CW-1 workers are on board and we did not send anybody home. We have been blessed,” she added.
Herman’s Modern Bakery was founded in 1944 by Herman R. Guerrero and his wife, Maria C. Tenorio-Guerrero.
Tan Marikita’s Café is open from Sunday to Saturday, 6am-2pm, while Herman’s Modern Bakery is open from Monday to Saturday, 6am-6pm. They start serving lunch plates at 10:30am. For more information, call (670) 234-1726 or look them up on Facebook: Herman’s Modern Bakery.