“LJC” stands for the initials of the late Larry J. Cruz. Founder and president of the LJC Chain of Restaurants. In 1979, Cruz, a journalist and information man, made a career change and opened his first restaurant, a small café in a modest corner of the Remedios Circle in Malate. He named the restaurant Café Adriatico, after the street it was on.
Banking on little else than his eating experience as a seasoned traveler and the support of his media friends, Cruz who had never been in the restaurant business before, made Café Adriatico the most talked about restaurant in town as soon as it opened its doors. The Café served good food and offered warm and friendly service. It was a place where people met spontaneously and enjoyed each other’s company in a setting that included conviviality. Pretty soon, Café Adriatico became the venue where Manila’s elite hobnobbed with celebrities, artists, business leaders and political movers and shakers.
Before long, café’s sprouted all over the country – many of them wearing the same turn-of-the-century look of Café Adriatico – but none could capture the character it possessed and the magic created by the selected pieces of antiques and artworks that were tastefully put together. Even the early menus were hand written and wittily illustrated by Larry’s father, the late writer and artist Emilio Aguilar Cruz.
Today the LJC Group includes:
- Café Adriatico Premiere, Malate
- Café Adriatico, Gateway
- Café Adriatico, SM MOA
- Café Havana, Greenbelt 3
- Abe, Serendra
- Abe, TriNoma
- Abe, SM MOA
- Abe, Alabang Town Center
- Fely J, Greenbelt 5
- Lorenzo’s Way, Greenbelt 5
- Lorenzo’s Way, Bonifacio High Street
- Larry’s Café and Bar, Serendra
- Ang Bistro sa Remedios, Malate
- Abe’s Farm, Pampanga
- LJC Catering Service