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The Early Word on Jollibee: Filipino Fast Food Makes Waves in Chicagoland

Nostalgia from a global fast-food chain

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Jollibee Skokie
Jollibee Skokie
Nick Fochtman
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.

The lines were outrageous over the weekend in suburban Skokie when Jollibee opened, allowing a crowd of Filipino fans into the chain's first restaurant in the Midwest and 34th in America. Jollibee runs more than 1,000 restaurants worldwide, and officials have successfully branded themselves as a reliable taste of the homeland that Filipino families rally around. But now that's it's open, do fanboys and fangirls think it lives up to the hype? Read on.

The service: A member of the Facebook group, "Jollibee Grand Opening" wrote a heartfelt thank you note to employees. Josephine Limtangco‎ singled out a particular employee and then typed up a warm response writing: "Thank you so much, Jollibee for the superb food and excellent customer service. You always fill my heart with joy and you always bring back the nostalgic memories of my childhood. I truly appreciate you for making my day the jolliest ever."

The line: Sure, people aren't waiting 10 hours anymore, but many are reporting two-hour waits, and some people compare the experience to sneaker heads camping out for the latest Nike release. One Facebook user from the aforementioned grand opening page shared a meme created by her son, joking that Jollibee spells doom for competitors:

Jollibee McDonald's Meme Facebook

For those who don't understand the immigrant experience and what Jollibee means, one Twitter user, @tooGDtoResist, explained it: "Well every time there's a relative who comes home from states, our first stop is JOLLIBEE and before they go we eat at JOLLIBEE." Meanwhile, another Twitter user has a marketing idea:

The food: Yelp user Christina K. wasn't impressed and has the jokes, writing "Jollibee is jolli-be-not": "I'm a quarter Filipino and I have to say, I could get better chicken at Popeye's. I ordered two buckets, fries, two spaghettis, a peach mango pie, ube pearl drinks and two halo-halos. The fries were hard and could get better fries at McDonald's with less calories, the spaghetti had a weird-like plastic smell to them." The fried chicken may lack spice, as Jollibee customers normally dip their pieces in gravy, but folks are happy with the spaghetti, as Eric M. wrote: "It was a nice change to feel like a kid again and eat sweet saucy spaghetti with hot dogs. Definitely worth trying at least once if you're not put off by the idea of really sweet spaghetti."


3534 W Touhy Ave, Skokie, IL 60076 (847) 674-3900 Visit Website