So, I ventured out to Woodside, Queens with a friend of mine, who is a fast-food pilgrim of sorts, to check out the new Jollibee. Being the McDonald's of the Philippines, Jollibee was a frequent merienda (snack-time) stop, whenever I visited my grand-mother and cousins in Manila. The largest fast-food chain in the Philippines, Jollibee is famous for its fried-chicken, called Chicken Joy, as well as other greasy delights, such as the Yumburger, the Aloha Burger, and, of course, the Jollibee Spaghetti, an appetizing curio and my personal merienda favorite, as it is sweet with mixed-in pieces of salty hot-dogs and ham.
Once my friend and I arrived in Woodside, we waited in line for 2 hours, along with throngs of Filipino balikbayans, hankering for their fill of Chicken Joy. By the time our wait came to an end, we had watched a slo-mo promo video display of the entire menu, featuring juicy pieces of crispy chicken and mouth-watering burgers, at least 50 times, and witnessed every customer ahead of us order food for what seemed like extended families, consisting of at least 50 members. Shaking from hunger and impatience, we finally reached the cashier and ordered:
1 Spicy Chicken Joy with Spaghetti
1 Spicy Chicken Joy with Palabok Pancit
1 Yum Burger
1 Mango Pie
and then scrambled to find a table to devour our picks .
Sadly, the Chicken Joy was joyless--not at all crispy or having the succulent appeal portrayed so tantalizingly on video. The pancit had an unpleasant taste and odd texture to it. The Mango Pie was basically sugared orange glop with cubes of processed mango chunks, encased in oily, fried crust. The Yum Burger, not so yummy. The Jollibee Spaghetti was palatable, but I was somewhat swayed by a sentimental bias. For fast-food, this was hardly the guilty pleasure, nor the treat of nostalgia I was expecting. Had it not been the 2 hour wait, I would have chalked this up to a fun, diversion to Queens, but the wait was interminable and eclipsed any fond feelings I had for the joint. Note to management: Read up on the chapters covering efficiency and customer line-management from the McDonald's franchise manual. If McDowell's did it, so can Jollibee.
Service: Effing slow
Ambiance: Fluorescent-lit, fast food primary color chic
Price: Cheap, but no $1 menu items ($2-3.50 burgers; $6-7 value meals for one person)
Verdict: 4/10 by fast food standards
62-29 Roosevelt Ave
Woodside, NY 11377
Nearest Transit: 61st St (7) 65th St (G, R, V)