Project Pie throws hipster welcome for 'pizza year'

By Joko Magalong

Posted at Feb 05 2014 01:43 PM | Updated as of Feb 05 2014 09:43 PM

The staff of Project Pie in Bluebay prepare pizzas. Photo by Sandra Ladignon-Pilobello

MANILA -- As Filipinos celebrated to welcome the Year of the Horse on January 31, Project Pie, the fast casual pizza chain marked the Chinese New Year with their own spin to 2014.

Project Pie has declared 2014 the "Year of the Artisan Pizza," as it aims to hook more Filipino foodies by letting them choose from an array of artisan ingredients from cheeses like gorgonzola to meats like prosciutto.

Since opening last year on Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong, Project Pie has quickly expanded, opening restaurants in Alabang, Eastwood in Libis and Bluebay in Pasay, which was packed on January 31 with pizza lovers, who also enjoyed a free concert and an outdoor movie screening.

Pizza lovers crowd the restaurant. Photo by Sandra Ladignon-Pilobello

The night kicked off with fireworks, followed by a film showing of “Sana Dati,” Jerrold Tarog’s indie film starring Paulo Avelino and Lovi Poe. Shown at last year's Cinemalaya festival, the movie was well-received by the pizza fans, as members of the cast and crew of the film looked on.

Concert time

Hidden Nikki, a new upcoming group of young musicians took the stage first. A jazz pop band with original tunes about love and losing, and even a song dedicated to those who like drinking, their set went for an easy and relaxed vibe, although technical difficulties made it a bit hard to fully appreciate their music.

Up Dharma Down performs outside the restaurant. Photo by Sandra Ladignon-Pilobello

Since “Indak” by Up Dharma Down was the closing song of the “Sana Dati,” it was fitting to have the group headline the night’s festivities. The band with Armi Millare (vocals and keyboards), Paul Yap (bass, synth and back-up vocals), Ean Mayor (drums and synths) and Carlos Tanada (guitars and synths), regaled the crowd with past hits such as “Oo,” and new ones from their new album, "Capacities," like “Feelings”, and “Tadhana.”

The highlight of the show was their performance of “Turn It Well” which had the crowd dancing, and amazingly singing along to the fast tune.

An "epic" pizza-making contest was also launched that night with pre-selected participants making their own pizza creations. Whoever gets the most likes in Project Pie’s Instagram page (@projectpiePH) wins. The winning customized pizza will be available in all of Project Pie’s branches for a month.