Photo by Jay Directo/AFP via Getty Images

Let's welcome Jollibee with open arms

Jeremy Glass
October 16, 2018

You may have never heard of this beloved fast-food chain and, to the untrained year, its name kinda sounds like a delicious fruity candy. But the Philippines’ greatest fast-food export, Jollibee, is coming to America again and this time they’re opening up shop in Manhattan. Let’s backtrack:

It’s 1978 and a man named Tony Tan Caktiong opens up an ice cream shop in Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines. People love the ice cream and the store quickly becomes a success—not for their main product, but rather the sandwiches and hot meals Tony and his family make for their hungry customers. This was considered the very first Jollibee in existence and now—four decades later—there are more than 1,200 stores in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Hong Kong, North America, and Italy. They’re called the “McDonald’s of the Philippines” (despite the fact there are many McDonald’s in the Philippines) and they serve traditional Filipino street food with a fast-food twist.

The very first American Jollibee opened up in 2009 in the neighborhood of Woodside, Queens, but it’s the second New York City location that’s expected to woo crowds into the arms of this Filipino fast-food giant. As Eater reports, On October 27, make sure you park your tuchus on Eighth Ave., between West 39th and West 40th—right near Port Authority—so you can sample some of Jollibee’s finest treats.

What can hungry patrons expect? For starters, there’s the famous Jolly Spaghetti (a take on traditional Filipino spaghetti that’s often served with sliced hot dogs and banana ketchup), fried chicken, peach mango pies, bubble tea, and the Halo-Halo, which is a traditional Filipino dessert made with mung beans, shaved ice, coconut, evaporated milk, gelatin, and a variety of exotic fruits. The Manhattan store will surely add to the eclectic collection of restaurants in Midtown and provide a whirlwind culinary experience to those who don’t mind hanging out in Midtown.

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