BY MORGAN LEGEL
As the second round of PCOR 1 COVID-19 closures hits businesses in Guam, there are still new businesses intending to open.
One of those is the Little Mongolian Grill in Yigo.
Planned to open sometime in the coming weeks across Marine Corps Drive from Pay-Less supermarket, co-owners Sarah M. Camacho and Roseanne S. Baris first leased the property in October 2019 and have been working on plans and construction since. The location was renovated by ICON Construction.
The location has an occupancy of 40 to 50 people, but with current Coronavirus guidelines, that leaves 20 people allowed inside the building, including staff, according to Camacho.
The restaurant will open with a staff of about eight, not including Camacho and Baris. The eight will be split into about three servers, two morning cooks and three night-cooks.
The dishes at the new restaurant will share much with other Mongolian restaurants around the globe.
The menu includes protein, vegetables, sauces and spice options. In detail, that will include proteins like beef, pork, chicken and some seafoods; vegetables like cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms and jalapenos; 15 to 20 sauces including a basic soy sauce and an oyster sauce, as well as house special sauces like a Mongolian barbeque sauce; and spices like salt, pepper and lemon pepper will all be available for custom bowl builds.
“They’re going to be getting their own food and ingredients, and I want them to create something for themselves and not feel like they have to rely on someone,” Baris said.
Service plans at the Little Mongolian Grill have had to be modified.
“Our initial plan was to have a self-serve station; however, things had to change,” Camacho told the Journal. The solution was to open offering only single-bowl takeout orders, which the customer helps to build with their desired ingredient combination, but never touches ingredients. There will be one server hand-picking the items and one cook grilling them.
Nearly a year in the making, a lot of delays mainly being able to schedule inspections, and the owners’ dream is about to come to fruition.
Camacho’s “idea to bring something different to the northern area, and maybe help benefit and better the community health-wise” led the owners to the Mongolian cuisine.
“When you cook for someone,” Baris said, “and then see them eating it and they like it, it makes you happy and good inside.”
While this is the pair’s first venture into owning a business, they said they have been prepared for their whole lives. “We learned the basics from our mothers who have a passion for cooking authentic Filipino dishes, and from there we explored different styles of cooking; we consider ourselves to be self-taught.”
The duo does have some time in business. “We both have years of experience in hospitality, customer service and public safety. Though we majored in courses other than culinary, it did not limit us from pursuing our passion and executing our ideas to help better serve our community with a fun fresh dining experience — we did our research, attended business seminars, explored different ideas and found one that inspired us to start our first restaurant business,” they said.
Even with the delays and changes in operations, the owners are optimistic.
“We try to stay above the water and be positive about everything,” Camacho said.
“Baris is equally hopeful. “We thought about it and said, ‘We can do this.’ We invested so much into this; we’re not just going to let it go.” mbj