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Jolibee, the Filipino fried chicken chain about to open in Woodside (Roosevelt/63rd)

I wouldn't normally applaud the opening of a fast food chain, but this might be a good addition to Woodside. Or maybe I'm just feeling puckish about the prospect of having a convenient source of fried chicken nearby. This is the first store of this Filipino chain on the east coast. There seems to be some mixed reviews on the other local boards where Jolibee has its shops, but I'm sure it will please the local Filipinos for a taste of home.


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  1. We just walked past the soon-to-be-open shop yesterday and were excited by the storefront size photo of fried chicken. I hear you about the fast food thing, but hey, it is a fast food joint I have never heard of! And, considering the dearth of fried chicken in the nabe, when I do get a craving, which is only once every couple of months, I will give it a shot. Because the craving is a fierce as it is rare. Disappointed to hear that it hasn't gotten good reviews on other boards though. I do get a kick out of saying Jolibee though. :)

    1. In the Philippines at least Jolibee is the local rival to McDonalds. Same menu, same quality, etc. They don't seem to be anything special -- or at least not the "american" type food. I had some thoroughly adequate fries in Manila, but nothing worth mentioning. I asked my husband about the chicken and he said is was like KFC but without the spices. For ex-pats there's a lot of nostalgic appeal (my husband is thoroughly excited by this news), but I wouldn't expect too much. The filipino stuff might be worth trying, though.

      1. Thanks for the update! My brother was just asking me if they were open yet. I don't recall anything about their chicken, but I certainly remember the spaghetti.

          1. re: neposter

            check the website linked above..

          2. Jollibee in the Philippines always advertised on the basis of "ang lasang pinoy" (filipino taste). That is achieved via added sugar in the ground beef for burgers and in the spagetti sauce.

            1. Long ago and far away (Manila) I did visit Jolibee a number of times, and I remember that the fried chicken wasn't bad for a fast-food chain. The burger seemed tastier than McDonald's, though I didn't detect any sugar, and that opinion is based on one or two experiences that I have never cared to repeat since. I must warn everyone that the spaghetti is ATROCIOUS. Like Sam said, it is sweet. Very sweet. Like thinned catsup with sugar added. And the pancit is pretty bad, too, and will probably contribute to further eroding the reputation of Fiiipino food. Stick to the fried chicken.

              4 Replies
              1. re: pilinut

                p - nut, don't worry. There is a growing wave supporting pagkain na tunay ng pinoy kahit sa mga international standards (or so my friends there tell me).

                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                  Sam - Could you translate? Thanks!

                  1. re: fredid

                    "... supporting real filipino food but done to international standards" [although Tagalog is one of my worst languages now that I haven't lived in the Philippines for 15 years]

                2. re: pilinut

                  The thing is, that's just what filipino spaghetti is like. It's not jolibee - specific. Sugary-sweet sauce, overcooked pasta, a bit of meat. Generally the attempts to do "american" food don't seem to turn out all that great. I wonder if the one here will have a more pinoy menu. I probably will end up getting one of those desert things -- can you go wrong with ube-anything? That's the one thing I loved in the philippines. So many fantastic desserts!

                3. Any chance of a Chow King opening up anytime soon in NYC?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: mepm231

                    i'd say, if Jolibee is around in Queens already, Can Chowking not be far behind? it seems that the Jolibee Mgmnt likes to keep all their stores tight, like they have a Red Ribbon in Jersey City, a Jolibee in Queens, it makes sense to place a ChowKing in manhattan, but WHYYYYY?
                    It's not like we need another noodle shop in Manhattan when we have the best now.

                  2. awesome! is it finally open? I've only had it in SF and definitely, it was for novelty's sake (it wasn't particularly good) but I just love the idea. I liked their burgers and fried chicken, although basically, its just fast-food.

                    1. Anyone know if they're open? I WAS going to the gym tonight, but if I can get my hands on some Filipino fast food, I'm going to Queens!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: JungMann

                        Not open yet. It doesn't look like they'll open until early 2009.

                        1. re: E Eto

                          Eh...I'll just go to Fil-Am mart and console myself with embutido and homemade longaniza in the meantime. Thanks!

                      2. Signs in their windows say they will open Feb. 14. They were serving food in some sort of pre/soft opening. Wasn't interested enough to inquire.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: MumonA

                          ya its open! a friend of mine said there were tons of people lined up outside, will head over later, purely for kitsch/nostalgic reasons of course.

                          1. re: bigjeff

                            Walked by earlier today and the line is over half a block long, and looked like it was moving slowly. We overheard someone saying a friend had waited 5 hours. Nostalgia is pretty darn powerful, huh?

                            That said, anyone have a menu? Is it the same as the ones in the Philippines? My husband is pretty excited (though not excited enough to wait in that line).

                            1. re: catherine

                              I haven't been there so I can't tell you whether this is a legit menu- it seems accurate enough. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_AtSJpsV7nSk...

                              The line was almost a block long around 3pm today, but I was lucky enough to have brothers who didn't mind the wait and got some takeout for me.

                              The yum burger was a nice nostalgic surprise despite the meat- I had forgotten how much I liked the flavoring. The spaghetti was good though it could use some more meat and hotdogs, and maybe a tad less sweetness. I also tried their palabok, but I don't plan to ever get it because I much prefer Phil Am or the nearby Filipino restaurants' versions.

                            2. re: bigjeff


                              here's a picture of the line. I wanted to go, but I can't stand for the lines. I went next store to an ecuadorian family restaurant - Braulio's. It was pretty good. no wait.

                              1. re: Jeffsayyes

                                Was at SriPraPhai on Saturday and parked not too far away, Even at 9.30pm the line went almost around the block, We will have to wait several weeks before attempting to partake of the famous hamburgers, 3 at a time. If I remember correctly the ones in Manila were quite small but tasty.

                          2. Along the same line........ A rumor of Max's Fried Chicken opening soon in Jersey City.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: currymouth

                              Is this the same Jollibee as the ones from California? If so, do they have the Aloha Burger? One of the best burgers ever!

                              1. re: RawTunaFan

                                yes they do have the aloha burger (slice of canned pineapple and bacon on a burger). ordering it was a big mistake - at least for my american palate. very sweet burger, patty reminded me of a larger and sweet version of white castle.

                            2. Talk about feeling like your back home...JOLIBEE opening makes this FIlipino girl purrrr

                              1. big fan of jolibee but wish there were other pinoy joints around the area. TAPA KING!!! miss that place. any one know where you could get good tapa around the Woodside area?

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: foodislife_

                                  Have you tried the Fil-Am Market? If their longaniza is any indication of how their cured meat is, the tapa must be amazing!

                                2. thanks JungMann. Will check it out. Has anyone ever tried Tapa King? Would love to see it over here Stateside!