Saturday, October 31, 2015

Max's Restaurant, The House That Fried Chicken Built, Celebrates Its 70th Anniversary

This October, one of the Philippines' top favorite dining establishments is celebrating its 70th "birthday." Max's Restaurant, home of the famous fried chicken, can be literally described as a palatable source of Filipino pride.

Max's Restaurant 3rd generation heirs 
For many Pinoys, especially those who come home as balikbayans from abroad, Max's is the go-to place for perfectly seasoned, satisfyingly crispy, and delightfully comforting fried chicken dish made from a recipe that has been passed on across generations. It is said to comprise much more than secret seasonings and undiscovered cooking techniques. 

Jim Fuentabella, Max's VP of Corporate Marketing, shares that it is their goal to carry the same taste to all of their stores. "They say that the chicken at our original branch tastes better, so it is a priority for us to replicate this experience of excellence in each restaurant."

fried spring chicken
That kind of diligence and dedication to detail, some claim, brought "the house that fried chicken built"  to what it is today. For those who don't know, the restaurant's founder Maximo Gimenez simply displayed typical Filipino hospitality to American soldiers by welcoming them into his home and offering them hearty meals in 1945 after World War II. Eventually, the soldiers insisted on paying for the food that they enjoyed so much and very often and convinced Maximo to open a cafe.

The cafe's success was attributed to his niece, Ruby, because she created the recipes that made the dining establishment famous. Not surprisingly, it was the chicken that became the G.I.s' favorite despite (or because of?) how different it was from the fried chicken they were used to eating in the U.S.

a lavish dinner celebration
Now known as "Nanay Ruby," she is also behind other Max's favorites such as the restaurant's Sinigang, Kare Kare, and Buko Pandan, to name a few, that are key elements to their successful and long-lasting menu. A hallmark of genuine Filipino culinary tradition, the name Max's has become synonymous to the comfort we attribute to a home away from home.

"Max's is in our blood," says Fuentabella who is a third generation member of the family. "The personal connection we have with the brand is what drives us forward, and is what inspires us to cascade the guest-host relationship to all our branches." He adds that the generosity and hospitality, which were his Lola Ruby's virtues, are messages they want to communicate on all levels.

Paolo chats with a guest about her fondest Max's memory
Last October 27, Max's held a dinner for family, friends, and members of the media at the place where it all started. The event was hosted by Paolo Abrera and Lexi Schulze who even asked several guests about their fondest memories of dining at Max's.

We were served many of the restaurant's classic dishes including, of course, the famous fried chicken. Displayed in the middle of the event area were samples of Max's mementos and giveaways through the years. 

mementos over the years
Time truly flies when the tummy is full and happy. From a simple home cooking cafe, Max's is now a successful international chain with a 70-year career that has withstood the many challenges in the competitive food industry. This milestone deserves a salute from its loyal customers whose families have also jumped a few generations ahead and are still dining there when we want to enjoy what's familiar and delicious.        

joining the celebration
Happy 70th Max's! :)

* photo credits: ARC Public Relations, Inc.  

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