The backlash against Tropical Hut’s resurgence has begun: younger customers are complaining that it’s “overrated” and it’s “all hype,” and rolling their eyes as they completely miss the point: Tropical Hut isn’t just about the taste (which is perfectly fine, what are they even complaining about?), it’s about the memories. It’s about looking at something we grew up with, took for granted, and remembering to finally appreciate it.
Considering how the pandemic hit the entire food industry, let alone Tropical Hut, isn’t that a great thing, regardless if it’s no Five Guys or Shake Shack?
But Tropical Hut isn’t alone. There are still restaurants out there that we’ve once known and loved, far from their heyday, but just waiting for a chance to be rediscovered. We’re talking about places like…
8. 3M Pizza
What We Remember Best: Cheap but tasty pizza you can’t put down.
When Shakey’s was too rich for your blood, 3M Pizza was the way to go. With quite a few branches still in operation, there’s nothing like a freshly baked pizza on a budget that’s perfect for anyone who also likes Pinoy spaghetti. You can still find 3M Pizza in New Manila, Visayas Avenue, and Cainta.
What We Remember Best: A classic diner with a burger and roast beef.
‘80s kids would have fond memories of the yellow sign that was the closest thing we had to a good ol’ American diner not named Friday’s or Johnny Rockets, but with only one branch remaining in Magallanes, it’s such a rare treat that people need to know it actually still exists first. Their roast beef never lost its edge. Still as good as it ever was.
6. Savory Chicken
What We Remember Best: Really tasty fried chicken, much more affordable than the more popular Chinese restaurants out there.
How often do you know a Chinese restaurant primarily known for its chicken? That’s how great Savory’s chicken was, that it overshadowed everything else. Pronounced “sah-vo-ree” instead of “say-vo-ree”, this Binondo specialty is one of our best picks as its franchises tend to be ignored because people have forgotten how good the food really gets. We were considering Ma Mon Luk in here, but it’s pretty clear that they are doing very well and have zero desire for new branches, so Savory it is.
What We Remember Best: Pearl shakes before they were called pearl shakes.
Nowadays often found in food bazaars, DEC in its heyday was a juggernaut. Hailing from Greenhills, they sold really delicious drinks long before Zagu decided to call them Pearl Shakes, and even had an initial resurgence when they tried to compete with the pretenders to their throne. Considering how milk tea is still popular to this day, it’s too bad they got lost in the shuffle despite always having quality stuff on offer.
4. Magoo’s Pizza
What We Remember Best: Ooey gooey cheesy pizza that’s always square cut.
Still a regular fixture in Eastwood Citywalk, Magoo’s Pizza conjures fond memories of square pizzas that were pretty much all toppings and next to no crust. With it being so close to the cinema, and people still hesitating to go back to the movies even up to now, Magoo’s could use all the help it can get.
3. Tom Sawyer’s
What We Remember Best: That distinctive ‘80s fried chicken taste.
With a branch in Tiendesitas and one supposedly opening in Estancia soon, Tom Sawyer’s used to be a popular fixture that got a second lease on life. Let’s not let that second chance go to waste, because Tom Sawyer’s tastes like a time machine — it’s one of those places that taste just as good as you remember, forgoing modern touches in favor of preserving the classic you know and love.
What We Remember Best: Really great chicken, even better Cebu liempo.
Competing with Mang Inasal at the time, Chic-Boy was a victim of its own success in the early 2010s. With so much momentum behind it, they overexpanded and ended up becoming only one branch in Intramuros plus a Makati-based online-only store. Their food is still as good as it’s ever been, and if you ever tried it a decade ago, you’d still get a kick out of it today.
What We Remember Best: It’s the place to be.
Cindy’s used to have ubiquitous advertising, coupled with a presence in pretty much every food court in the mall during the ‘80s. Maybe chicken barbecue is just really that hard to eat as fast food because it ended up falling out of vogue, often making its presence felt in the province nowadays instead of the heart of the metro where it belongs. If they came back, we’d swear off all the overpriced chicken barbecue places that tried to overthrow them forever (and we don’t mean Aristocrat. That’s its own institution right there.).
Do you have any fond memory of these classic Pinoy food restos? Share it with us in the comments!