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The Early Buzz On Seafood City, A Mini Manila In Chicago

Is it as crazy as Jollibee?

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seafood city chicago
What are diners saying about Filipino superstore Seafood City?
Sarah Joyce
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Seafood City has rocked Chicago, as the parking lots are jammed and long lines are flowing from the food court. Folks are fawning over this Filipino supermarket and the quick-serve restaurants inside. What’s the early buzz? Read on and find out.

Grill City: Skewered meats and other treats are found at Grill City, but some don’t think it’s worth the wait. "The Pork BBQ we got was ok. It's not the best out there. It's also overpriced here. It's almost $2 per stick! It's so insane to me," wrote Yelp user Jerome N. The price wasn’t even the biggest concern for Yelp user Jay B.: "This place is an absolute disaster. Horrible service. 45 minutes to receive your order which has been sitting on the steam table for just as long."

Folks are very unhappy with the service and the staff seems oblivious about how they look: "The staff had no sense of urgency. The manager Butch was over there hugging the other staff. You had orders that were not claimed because you guys took so long. Your food is already cooked and your service is so slow a turtle can beat you," wrote Ivy Marie Sagrado via Facebook.

Over on LTHforum, user mtgl offered a tip: "Make sure to ask for the vinegar for dipping it [pork sticks]--it has a bit of garlic and chili added to it, and really livens things up."

Crispy Town: The name alone was enough to lure long lines for fried foods. However, it’s a mixed bag: "Tortang talong was a deep fried flavorless mess, lumpia was no bueno and their fried chicken is just Meehhhh," wrote Aaron B.

The early lines were too much, and may keep some customers away.

The vibe: A few folks felt like they were back in Manila thanks to the crowds, but the seating layout didn’t help: "The spacing for the chairs and tables were so tight you need to go to either end just to get out of the area as there isn't enough room between the tables," wrote Phil S.

The Jollibee Factor: Once Jollibee opens in November, Seafood City may draw even more customers. But at the same time, Jollibee may alleviate congestion at the other three restaurants. That might be something to look forward to, but it appears Seafood City didn’t learn the lesson from craziness over at Jollibee in Skokie: "There is some huge mismanagement going on here. I guess Chicago didn't learn from the hour long waits that are still at Jollibee months after the opening?" wrote Ryne D.

Seafood City

5033 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL 60630 (773) 295-1658