One of the newer dining establishments in Corner Brook, a city in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, is a Filipino-Canadian fusion restaurant.
The place is called Samuel’s Sammiches and Filipino BBQ.
Just from the name alone, one can be pretty sure about what the spot owned by Corner Brook-born Rob McCarthy has to offer.
If you’re into sandwiches, the place has burgers and sammiches or sandwiches with a quarter pound of meat, like pulled pork, brisket and fried chicken.
But if you want to try Filipino fare, Samuel’s Sammiches and Filipino BBQ should not be missed.
The establishment has offerings like pancit Filipino noodles, lumpia springrolls, empanada turnovers, Filipino-style barbeque skewers, and lechon belly or roast rolled pork belly.
For dessert, one can try ube purple yam mousse, topped with whipped cream and leche flan or crème caramel.
McCarthy’s place got the attention of journalist Diane Crocker, who wrote a story about Samuel’s Sammiches and Filipino BBQ for SaltWire.com on December 9, 2022.
Crocker reported that McCarthy was born in Corner Brook and grew up in Ontario.
The restaurateur moved back to Corner Brook with his wife about two years ago, and opened his Filipino-Canadian fusion restaurant in September 2022.
“McCarthy’s wife, Cristina Gumarang, is Filipino, and that’s where the Filipino connection for the restaurant comes in,” Crocker wrote.
McCarthy related that Cristina kept coming to him with Filipino dishes, asking him to cook.
“Having concentrated on learning to cook Italian food, McCarthy said he was quite intimidated by Asian food at first because he wasn’t familiar with the ingredients.
“After trying it a few times he realized the ingredients are different, but the principles are the same.
“Soon Gumarang was telling him that his Filipino dishes were better than hers,” Crocker reported.
When McCarthy and Gumarang decided they wanted to have a family, they returned to Newfoundland.
They sold their house in Ontario, got a house in Corner Brook, and started the restaurant.
“We just decided we’re all in, let’s do it, and that’s what happened,” McCarthy said in the SaltWire.com report.
“Life is a leap of faith. Everything we do, you can’t take a half measure. If you take a half measure it’s not going to work. The funny thing is if you don’t try, you don’t succeed.”
The report noted that the name of the restaurant is in tribute to the couple’s son who died at birth.
Gumarang, for her part, started baking.
Gumarang is a nurse, biology teacher and midwife. She was working in long-term care, and pregnant at the time with their daughter, Sarah McCarthy.
Crocker wrote that Gumarang was considered high-risk, so her doctor advised her against continuing nursing.
“I feel bored staying at home,” Gumarang said.
She learned how to make cinnamon rolls. Then she tried making McCarthy’s favourite, Portuguese custard tarts.
Soon, baked goods were added to the restaurant menu.
“We’ve been well received by the community. Overall people are very pleased with what we’re doing,” McCarthy said.