It's not unusual when there's a long queue outside a new restaurant opening its doors in New York. Not so in Woodside, Queens, dominated mostly by immigrant businesses and restaurants. But this is Jollibee, the Philippines' most popular fast-food chain, opening its first fast-food temple in the East Coast on a Valentine's Day. As expected, the buzz spread like wildfire to hungry Pinoys who braved the winter chill just to get a bite of something familiar: a crispy Chickenjoy or that sweet Spaghetti or Palabok with that piquant sauce.
Before today, Pinoys hankering for a Jollibee meal usually had their fill in California where several branches thrive. For me, whenever I'm in the Los Angeles area, it meant ordering a take-out of their value meal for that long flight back to New York. Now that Jollibee has landed in the Big Apple, does that mean we are going to see more Pinoys taking the No. 7 train going to Woodside? Along this stretch of Roosevelt Boulevard, with its row of other Pinoy restaurants, the sight of a bee in a chef's hat is a welcome addition. Today's huge crowd means a successful opening. I just hope the attention it's getting isn't short-lived.
Jollibee is located at 62-29 Roosevelt Ave.Woodside, Queens NY 11377. Take the No. 7 train bound for Flushing, get off at Woodside Station and walk 2 blocks east.