SUCCESS STORY OF ARISTOCRAT: How “Mother of Filipino Cooking” Started PH’s “Most Popular Restaurant”

Dubbed as the country’s most popular restaurant, Aristocrat has been serving “food fit for the royalty” for more than 80 years. Best known for its chicken barbecue with peanut sauce and java rice, Aristocrat has become a Filipino family favorite for decades.

The restaurant’s humble beginnings dates back in the 1930’s when Asiang Reyes decided to open a mobile canteen in Luneta to sell sandwiches filled with adobo, fish fillet and her other Pinoy specialties. The old car of the suitor of Teresita, Asiang’s eldest daughter who is more popularly known as Mama Sita for her contributions in the local food industry, was used as the mobile canteen. At that time, Luneta was a popular place for picnics so many hotdog trucks were also in the park.

PHOTO CREDIT: Philipines E Directory

Initially, Asiang wanted to name the mobile canteen Andy, after her eldest son. However, Andy, who was studying in Ateneo, didn’t like the idea.

Sensing that her son was ashamed, Asiang asked Andy: “Bakit, nahihiya ka ba sa mga aristokrata mong kaklase sa Ateneo?”

From that conversation, the name Aristocrat was coined.  The mobile canteen instantly became a hit even to Andy’s supposed “aristocrat” classmates.

With the success of Aristocrat, Asiang and her husband Justice Alexander “Alex” Reyes transformed the simple mobile canteen into a full-time restaurant, which is situated along Roxas Boulevard. Her specialties including merienda fare such as turon, arroz caldo, lumping ubod, pancit luglog and dinuguan at puto.

The couple then opted to launch a branch in Cubao. In addition, Asiang’s food was also served in their apartment hotel in Ermita as well as a beach resort in Las Piñas.

However, Asiang’s customers in the beach resort tend to bring their own food instead of ordering from them. To solve this problem, Asiang decided to serve barbecue-style dishes, including Aristocrat’s famous Chicken Barbecue and the rest is history.

Currently, Aristocrat has 13 branches all over Metro Manila and Luzon.

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