Ozark Diner is a newly opened restaurant in Baguio City specializing in the cuisine of the Southern United States. Since they opened last May 2014, a lot of locals have been raving about their food. Several local radio and television stations have also featured them. So, during our visit this December, we made sure that we included Ozark Diner in our itinerary. Behind Ozark Diner are Executive Chef Kevin Mize, a native of Arkansas, and Foodlab Inc President Mr. Albert Sotelo.
Ozark Diner is located in a quiet district near Saint Louis University (SLU) Mary Heights Campus, far away from the busy city center. From where we sat, we enjoyed a lovely view of pine trees with the university grounds of SLU while sipping on our Bottomless Iced Tea (P90.00). They serve brewed iced tea which is based on the tea recipe of Chef Kevin's grandmother.
|Bottomless Iced Tea|
We tried two of Ozark Diner's Specials starting off with the Hickory Chicken Special (P150.00). The chicken was slowly smoked for 2.5 hours in their custom made brick oven. It is served with rice and a side of Hoppin' John. The chicken was savory and perfectly seasoned with spices. If you want your chicken extra flavorful, you can dip it in gravy. Hoppin' John is a Southern United States dish made of black eyed peas and seasoned with smoked ham hocks.
|Hickory Chicken Special|
Red Beans & Rice (P50.00) is another Ozark Diner Special which originates from New Orleans, Louisiana. The red beans are slowly cooked with Tasso ham and are then served on a bed of rice. It's already a complete meal in itself since the red beans are rich in protein and the rice provides your carbs. The Tasso ham gives just enough fat into the dish. The dish was flavorful but tasted not as salty as I prefer it.
|Red Beans & Rice|
We also ordered the Ozark Meatloaf Plate (P290.00). Ozark Diner makes its own meatloaf and they serve this dish with an inch-thick slab of meatloaf, together with three pieces of layered buttermilk biscuits and your side of choice. For our side, we had the mashed potato with white gravy. Their meatloaf was amazing! It was compact and the crust added ta chunky texture to it. The ground beef and pork mixture gave the meatloaf a flavorful taste. It was cooked just right to keep it moist and tender. We also enjoyed the mashed potato. It was creamy with a light buttery taste. The white gravy has a light flavor that does not overpower the taste of the mashed potato. The Layered Buttermilk Biscuits are small-size breads that is traditionally dipped in honey.
|Ozark Meatloaf Plate|
Another must-try at Ozark Diner is their Dirty Rice (P60.00). It is a traditional Louisiana dish popular in the Creole region made of rice cooked with spices and chicken liver. It is the chicken liver that gives flavor and dark color to the rice. We paired this with the meatloaf and it was a winner combination.
Ozark Diner source all their ingredients locally, including the potatoes, the red beans and the black eyed peas used in the dishes we ordered. They also make their own bacon and hams. According to Chef Kevin, they make dishes based on ingredients that they can source locally.
Ozark Diner is also famous for their unique and "crazy" cheesecake recipes that we made sure we didn't miss. We started with their best-selling Dark Beer Cheesecake (P110.00). It's creamy, moist and smooth to the palate, with a light sweetness and well-balanced sourness from the cream cheese. The taste of the dark beer comes as a light malty aftertaste.
|Dark Beer Cheesecake|
We then tried the Ginger-Wasabi Cheesecake (P110.00). The texture is a bit crumbly, but moist. I loved its sweet gingery taste with a mild spicy wasabi aftertaste.
Finally, we had the Chocolate Sili Labuyo Cheesecake (P110.00). This one is quite compact but not dry. The chocolate cheesecake has bits of candied sili labuyo (bird eye chili) in it. It starts with a sweet chocolate taste and then your tastebuds will be shocked by the spicy kick of the labuyo. I tried to munch on the candied chilis. The skin is actually sweet like candy, it's just the seeds that has the spiciness.
|Chocolate Sili Labuyo Cheesecake|
My favorite is the Ginger-Wasabi Cheesecake because it's refreshing to the taste and perfect after a savory meal. Edgar loved the Dark Beer Cheesecake because of its light flavor and moist and smooth texture. We also liked the Chocolate Sili Labuyo Cheesecake, it's an interesting creation, but since we are not super fans of spicy food, it's no a dessert that we will be craving for.
Ozark Diner's offerings of authentic American diner comfort food is perhaps the closest thing you can have to an authentic American diner experience but what makes the experience different, and even better, is the warm Filipino customer service delivered by Ozark's awesome staff.
Overall, we had a great time at Ozark Diner. Their dishes are rich in tradition and history. The cuisine of American South is full of bold flavors that we enjoyed. It was truly a unique dining experience, that we will sure come back for.
Coming from the city center, the best way to get there is by taking a taxi. Tell the driver to take you to Bareng Drive near SLU Mary Heights Campus. Ozark Diner is located beside Arc Residences and North Cambridge Condominiums.
Bareng Drive, Bakakeng, Baguio City
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 10:00am to 9:30pm
Contact Nuumber: 0939 881 8125