APPLEBEE’S Grill & Bar, the quintessential American restaurant chain that’s among the largest casual dining brands in the world, is now in Manila. It recently opened its first location in the Philippines at W Global Center, 30th St. corner 9th Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, in the presence of Daniel del Olmo, president of DineEquity Inc.
DineEquity Inc. is the parent company of Applebee’s and IHOP, and franchise holder of both brands in the Philippines is Global Restaurant Concepts Inc. (GRCI). GRCI currently operates seven IHOP restaurants in the Philippines and intends to grow Applebee’s, the new brand that it has brought in to the Philippines, in the same aggressive manner over the next few years.
Applebee’s is backed by 35 years of experience in American casual dining, serving the best ribs, steaks, burgers, chicken, appetizers and cocktail drinks. It first opened in Decatur, Georgia, in 1980 under the name T.J. Applebee’s Edibles & Elixirs. It turned out to be such a huge success that, six years later, its first franchised restaurant opened in Kansas City under the name Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar. By 1996, the chain had 819 restaurants not just in the United States but also in Canada, the Caribbean, Germany and The Netherlands. Today, there are more than 2,000 Applebee’s restaurants in 49 states, 16 countries and two U.S. territories.
“We are delighted to bring the classic American grill and bar experience to guests in the Philippines, which has long been a goal for all of us at DineEquity. Our largest ever consumer research study identified the Philippines as a market with great growth opportunity for Applebee’s,” says Del Olmo, who adds that it took a bit of time for Applebee’s to enter the Philippine market because DineEquity wanted to find a franchise partner who would bring the same level of commitment, quality and guest satisfaction that GRCI had when it brought IHOP to the Philippines.
To which GRCI president and CEO Archie Rodriguez replied: “My team and I are excited to celebrate everything with our guests at Applebee’s, as we serve classic American grill and bar flavors. We are sure Filipinos will love the whole concept of Applebee’s—from its menu and service to overall ambiance—with their friends and family.”
Heading the Philippine kitchen is corporate chef Paolo Gutierrez, who grew up in the United States and knew the Applebee’s brand very well. The menu is basically the same one from the U.S., although the Philippine store has introduced a couple of items, including a line of Kids’ Menu, and Chef Paolo’s team is developing some dishes locally. “We will just need to send the taste profiles and recipes to the U.S. for approval,” he says.
Applebee’s specializes in steaks and ribs, including the USDA House Sirloin (Php975), which is served with seasoned vegetables and a choice of garlic mashed potato or baked potato; Ribeye (Php1,550), a 12oz. USDA ribeye steak served with a choice of garlic mashed potato or baked potato; and Pork Ribs (Php650 for a half slab and Php950 for a full slab), BBQ pork ribs marinated in Applebee’s special house blend, grilled to perfection, and served with corn on the cob, French fries and coleslaw, with a choice of honey BBQ sauce, smoky chipotle, spicy sweet Asian chili and Korean BBQ sauce.
Some of the dishes to try, from appetizers or bar snacks to main meals, pasta, burgers, desserts and cocktail drinks:
Potstickers (Php325)—shrimp and pork filled wontons served with Thai peanut and soy dumpling sauces. They’re fried to golden perfection, making them crunchy on the outside but tender and juicy on the inside.
Sriracha Shrimps (Php445)—crispy shrimps coated with rich and creamy Sriracha chili-lime dip. Shrimps are always a winner, but these ones are fresh and lovely and have just the right spicy kick.
Green Bean Crispers (Php195)—battered and fried green beans, served with lemon aioli. They’re so surprisingly good that they’d make you look at vegetables in a totally different way. My favorite!
Wonton Tacos (Php195)—spicy chicken stuffed wonton shells with coleslaw and cilantro. The wonton shells are like tacos that, instead of half-moon, are triangular in shape.
Boneless Chicken Bites (Php275)—lightly breaded tender chunks of boneless chicken, with a choice of honey BBQ, sweet and spicy, classic buffalo or Korean BBQ sauce.
Double Crunch Bone-in Wings (Php295)—double fried chicken wings with a choice of honey BBQ, sweet and spicy, classic buffalo or Korean BBQ sauce. Crunchy exterior, tender and juicy interior, just the way wings should be.
4-Cheese Mac and Cheese with Honey Pepper Chicken Tenders (Php385)—cavatappi pasta covered with rich four-cheese cream sauce, tossed with bacon and bell pepper, topped with chicken tenders glazed with honey pepper sauce. A light, full meal in itself!
Cowboy Burger (Php525)—true blue Western burger patty on a toasted brioche bun, layered with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles, smothered with honey BBQ sauce, and topped with crispy onion strings, melted white Cheddar cheese and smoked bacon.
Quesadilla Burger (Php525)—juicy burger with Applebee’s Mexi-ranch sauce, pico de gallo and shredded lettuce, served in a unique Jack and Cheddar quesadilla. A burger and a quesadilla in one, you get the best of both ‘worlds.’ For burgers, diners can swap their fries for Crunchy Onion Rings or Sweet Potato Fries for Php125.
Churros S’mores (Php215 as bar chow, Php245 as dessert)—it’s an order of churros twists with a chocolate dip topped with toasted marshmallows. Another two-in-one offering.
Triple Chocolate Meltdown (Php295)—moist chocolate cake with a fudge-filled center that bursts out chocolate goodness when forked, served with vanilla ice cream on top and drizzled with chocolate fudge.
The menu also carries a whole range of salads, sizzling entrées, chicken and fish dishes aside from the steaks and ribs that meat lovers would go crazy over, and huge sandwiches.
For cocktail drinks, Applebee’s offers a number of refreshing choices, including Berry Sangria and Applebee’s Bahama Mama.
Applebee’s is open daily, from 11:00 a.m. to 12 midnight, Sundays to Thursdays, and from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., Fridays and Saturdays.
(Applebee’s Grill & Bar is located at the G/F, W Global Center, 30th St. corner 9th Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.)