New and Familiar Food at Roc’s Grill
By Will Tigley
The economic downturn has hit many families hard, but despite the adversity two Filipinos are
turning their situation around with a new restaurant in Calgary. Opened since September 2016,
Roc’s Grill is a culinary venture by partners and owners, Chris Rocamora (who the restaurant is
named after) and Krystal Analiz.
Grill has become with consistent business during weekends, lunch and evenings. It’s a long way
from where the couple started from with Analiz a piping designer at an engineering firm and
Rocamora working as an automotive specialist.
“Even while we were working Chris and I were trying to think a business to start during this
economic downturn,” explains Analiz. “We wanted something that could sustain us over the
next few years regardless of the ups and downs of a recession.”
Soon after making the decision to start a new business Rocamora was laid off in January 2016
and Analiz was laid off the following March. As luck would have it, a week after being laid off,
Analiz received a notice of agreement for Roc’s Grill. Within another week they began
As a licensed supplier of Mark Joel’s BBQ, Rocamora says Roc’s Grill was actually conceived
during conversations between himself and Mark Joel’s BBQ while playing together on a
“We were originally thinking about just being a Mark Joel franchise in the south,” says
Rocamora. “There’s no one else providing lechon in south Calgary, but we had the space for a
full restaurant so thought, why not?”
Analiz explains that the partnership with Mark Joel to provide licensed lechon has really helped
Roc’s Grill, especially contributing to sales for the restaurant in January and February.
Analiz says, “We expected to be a bit slower the last few months, but that wasn’t the case at all.
People still needed lechon for family gatherings.”
The ability to serve lechon has also helped contribute to one of Roc’s Grill’s signature dishes: the
Lechon Poutine. It’s one of the dishes that Analiz says is helping Roc’s Grill stand out.
“We want to give people something new,” says Analiz. “We don’t want to just provide authentic
Filipino food because you can get that at home. We want to provide something you can’t get at
Many of the dishes are conceived by Krystal who spends time looking at Google to find
inspiration for new dishes that have a Filipino spin on them.
“We want to be different,” says Rocamora. “We have the poutine to help us with that, but also
other dishes like our Kare Kare wings. The sauce you know, but with crispy chicken wings.”
It’s about attracting new audiences for Roc’s Grill. Rocamora and Analiz know that a lot of youth
are foodies and food bloggers and through their menu they want to give them something to talk
about. Through the use of social media word about the restaurant is spreading and once
introduced to Roc’s Grill many guests come back.
Rocamora is impressed with how word is spreading. In many cases he expected most non-
Filipinos to only come if accompanying friends of Filipino families. He’s glad to see these
customers enjoy the food and consistently return.
“We want Filipino food to go mainstream,” says Analiz. “Many people are not familiar with
Filipino food and we as a community haven’t showcased the food fairly well. We need to give
them a reason to come back.”
While the innovative recipes stand out on the menu Rocamora and Analiz developed recipes for
even the traditional dishes with the help of their parents and families.
The sizzling Beef Caldereta is Rocamora’s mom’s recipe and Chicken Inasal is an authentic
Negros dish that was developed from Analiz’s aunt’s recipes.
Rocamora even acknowledges the friends involved in developing the flavours for Roc’s Grill.
“Our friend Michael Juarez who passed his Red Seal certification was one of our food advisors
on the side.”
Together with their team of cooks, Cesar, Kent, Myra, Sharon and TJ in the kitchen, Rocamora
says everything runs so smoothly because they all know what they’re doing.
“We’re so thankful for our talented cooks,” says Analiz. “They’re really involved in the recipes
and we do our best to make them happy.”
Analiz and Rocamora admit that by focusing on keeping their staff happy, the love they put into
their work shows in the food they serve. And by providing delicious food made with care, they
keep their returning customers happy.
For more information on Roc’s Grill visit them on their Facebook and Instagram channels.