More than a house of fried chicken
By Julie Cabatit-Alegre Updated March 19, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines – It was not what you’d have expected to see at an event hosted by “the house that fried chicken built,” but there they were giant fondant wedding cakes on display at the exhibit area of SM Baguio City. It was the last weekend of the month-long Panagbenga Festival, and the mall was bursting at the seams with people who came to watch the annual parade along Session Road. The parade featured street dancers in their colorful costumes and floats bedecked with an abundance of fresh flowers. There could not have been a better time and place to launch Max’s “Parties and Events Mall Tour.”
“Max’s has always been a favorite venue for parties and celebrations, long before special party venues for weddings, debuts, and other special occasions became the trend,” Ghena Austero, Max’s assistant marketing manager for parties and events, remarked. The garden setting at Max’s Restaurant on Scout Tuazon, Quezon City started it all. Outdoor dining under the cool shade of towering trees made for a unique experience when it was introduced decades ago. Today, with 180 stores nationwide, Max’s continues the tradition of providing not only good food but also a memorable setting for celebrations, from christenings to birthdays, graduations, weddings and anniversaries, as well as business meetings and informal gatherings.
“Max’s offers a variety of ideas for your child’s baptismal party with such themes as blessed baby, baby clothes, and Noah’s Ark,” said Bobby Simborio, Max’s assistant marketing manager for promo and PR. “Your child can play out his or her fantasies with Max’s themed birthday party packages. She can be a princess in her own Royal Kingdom or a runway model in Fashion Fun. He can be a racecar driver with our Race Car party theme or a clever detective with Private Iris. Your debutante deserves no less than our special debut package, as she is presented to the adult world. And for that most important time in your life, your wedding, you can choose between a traditional floral or an Asian-Filipino inspired theme.”
The fondant cakes representing Max’s different themed party packages attracted a curious crowd at the mall and some shoppers even had their pictures taken with the cakes on display. Others stopped long enough to listen to the music played by the Music of the Heart wind and string quartet.
“Most SM malls have a Max’s store,” quipped Orly Villanueva, Max’s assistant marketing manager for local store marketing. “It is the top seller in SM City.” In northern Luzon, there is the popular Max’s Restaurant in Luisita, Tarlac, a favorite stopover place for travelers on their way up to Ilocos or the Mountain Province. The farthest Max’s store in the north is in Tuguegarao.
There is something to be said about Max’s outstanding ability to keep up with the changing times, without losing its distinctive core values. The unique recipe that made its special fried chicken an all-time favorite has not changed through the years, to the delight of its loyal fans. Max’s has also developed new dishes like its dory fish dishes for example. We found the lightly breaded cream dory fillet in fermented black beans sauce particularly appealing. Who would have expected to find a sophisticated appetizer such as crunchy pita with bangus pate in Max’s fast-casual dining menu? There are more new additions to the menu, Filipino dishes with a twist such as the mongo with crisp tinapa dumplings. Taking its lineup of desserts a notch higher is the ube crème decadence, a delicate ring of panna cotta with an ube gem at the center.
We were surprised to learn that Max’s also has its own bakery. “It all started with the bun that accompanied every chicken meal and the caramel bar that was the standard sweet ending,” Simborio relates. “The bake shop, which occupied a small corner of the store, has now evolved into Max’s corner bakery.”
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