Tessie Bordallo sits in her restaurant in Tumon sipping a ginger tea as she talks about her grandfather's farm in Yigo, where she grew up.
On the wall in one of those fading photographs from long ago, the ones that never fail to trigger nostalgia, her grandfather smiles from behind a wide-brimmed hat.
"He always, always wore a hat," says Tessie.
He is surrounded by so many family members that they can barely fit in the frame. That's how Tessie remembers life on the farm with her grandfather – full of family and life.
"We didn't buy things. We bartered," she says. Fresh produce and meat were part of the daily menu.
"I knew what I was going eat by what he was harvesting."
Her grandfather was such a do-it-yourself type of person he scoffed when Tessie once brought him a can opener.
"He did everything by hand," she says. "It was that hard work that I grew up with that I really appreciate."
A way of life Tessie has brought to the kitchen at Terry's – named after her mom, the first food vendor at the Chamorro Village, who as legend has it coined the term "fiesta plate." Tessie has expanded on the one- and two-choice favorites.
"I wanted to put in what my feeling of what it should be, which is a la carte and having things come out fresh."
With fresh ingredients, time-tested recipes and a commitment to cooking without cutting corners, Terry's offers authentic local favorites in a space filled with natural wood and island relics.
When Terry's relocated from its original Yigo location in 2016 many local customers followed as regulars, but Tessie is also opening her arms to Guam's flow of tourists.
The flavors are classic, she says, and appeal to many palates.
'What Guam food is like'
Starters include Lechen Biringhenas (barbecued eggplant cooked in coconut milk and honey served with fresh titiyas) and hagun suni (chopped spinach cooked in coconut milk with turmeric and garlic). Or try the sampler Pika CHamoru plate with chicken, shrimp and beef kelaguen with a shrimp patty.
Entrees range from parrotfish with coleslaw to the BBQ Combo Plate with local style barbecued chicken, pork spare ribs and beef short ribs, and the Kadon Pika plate with spicy chicken cooked with a tangy soy-based stock with achote, garlic and coconut milk.
Or take a different direction with the grilled vegetable salad with lemon vinaigrette house dressing and homemade corn titiyas, or the classic chop steak with tender slices of USDA choice beef and sauteed fresh vegetables.
"Customers can really get a feel that they are getting sense of what Guam food is like," says Tessie.
To complement that food Terry's now has a corner bar where the drinks – including Moscow Mules, Chi-Chis and the Cucumber Cooler (muddled cucumber in simple syrup, apple vodka and calamansi juice topped with soda) – are made from scratch.
Make yourself at home
Terry's is where a visitor can go to feel at home.
As The Guam Daily Post's photographers hover, snapping pictures and recording video of the colorful spread of food, Tessie tries to remember the name of one of the businesses that the venue previously held.
She turns to a man enjoying his lunch at a nearby table.
"What was it called again?" she asks. He smiles and tells her he is from Arizona.
She laughs, "I thought you were a local boy!"
Come into Terry's and be mistaken for a local.