These heroes are nurses by night, restauranteurs by day!
Three nurses working at Mt. Sinai Hospital noticed they had no quality Filipino food options near their work to eat lunch. Previously having to travel all the way to Queens or lower Manhattan for proper Filipino food, the three nurses-turned-entrepreneurs opened their very own Filipino restaurant, Bilao, near “hospital row.”
Maricris Dinopol told Balitang America that she wants all of the frontline workers to be able to have their own food, after her and her two colleagues left work one day hungry in search of their culture’s cuisine. With no options in sight, they went on to create Bilao, serving Filipino flavor that doesn’t require a trip to Queens.
Jude Canela, Joan Calanog, and Maricris Dinopol have not given up their hospital jobs for a life in the restaurant business. The three work their hospital shifts from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and then head straight to Bilao to run the restaurant.
The recently-opened spot already has an extensive menu sure to bring flavors of the Philippines right to New York City. From delicious breakfast choices such as Tapislog, thinly sliced beef marinated in soy sauce with garlic and vinegar served with garlic fried rice and an egg, to Dasilog, fried marinated milk fish with garlic rice and an egg.
Their merienda (snacks) include Goto, porridge with tripe, and Pancit Bihon, which is meat and vegetables sautéed in a special sauce with noodles. The restaurant additionally offers classic Filipino dishes like Chicken Adobo that is chicken stewed in spices, Pinakbet, shrimp and mixed vegetables sautéed in shrimp paste, Sizzling Sisig, chopped pork liver, ears, jowls, and chili seasoned with spices, and Kare-Kare which is tripe and oxtail stewed with vegetables in a peanut sauce.
Despite Bilao’s recent opening, the Filipino joint located at 1437 1st Avenue Store 1 has been filling up most nights so make sure to get there early and check their website to get an availability quote.
featured image source: Instagram/ @bilaonyc