Max’s Celebrates With Outstanding OffersCover Story Features
October 13, 2013
Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: Leah Friel
Upon launching his own cafe in 1945, Maximo Gimenez could not have envisioned the global reach his food would have nearly seven decades later.
Fast forward to present day and diners reap the rewards of the resulting Max’s of Manila, as the restaurant celebrates its 68th anniversary with a special can’t-miss deal.
A Stanford University-educated teacher, Gimenez opened Max’s Restaurant in Quezon City, Philippines, after soldiers he had befriended during World War II kept frequenting his house for drinks. The cafe initially served chicken, steak and beverages, and the soldiers grew fond of the signature chicken that was — and still is — tender, juicy and crispy. Max’s became known as “the house that fried chicken built,” and the attribute lives on.
“Chicken was one of the items he offered to guests, and it became so popular that (Max’s) turned into a restaurant as a result,” explains Maly San Luis, general manager of Max’s in Hawaii. “That’s how the restaurant became famous: the chicken. Since then, especially in the past 20 to 30 years, the menu has expanded to include a full assortment of Filipino offerings.”
Max’s of Manila has grown in popularity as Island residents and visitors continue to frequent its Dillingham Boulevard and Waipahu locations. Customers pack the house for a wide assortment of favorites, including the ever-popular fried chicken, cooked in its signature secret recipe.
In honor of the restaurant’s 68th year, Max’s is again offering its annual “Chicken Blowout.” On Tuesday, Oct. 15, customers will receive half off the regular price ($13.75) on a whole Max’s Fried Chicken — and pay just $6.88. In contrast to competing establishments that bread or batter their chicken prior to frying, Max’s chicken is marinated and deep fried, resulting in a crispy, golden brown skin that locks in flavor and keeps the meat tender.
The special deal is available for both dine-in and takeout customers, and San Luis encourages diners to enjoy the succulent chicken while also inviting friends to enjoy the deal.
“This is our fifth year offering the chicken blowout special, and it’s been so successful that we’ve continued to offer it,” says San Luis. “It’s our way of saying ‘thank you’ to our existing customers, while also allowing new customers to try it. Max’s was founded on its fried chicken, and from there branched out to feature full-fledged Filipino cuisine.”
Pancit Bihon ($8.95) is one such Filipino favorite that has drawn rave reviews from diners and serves as one of the most popular menu selections. The dish features thin rice noodles sauteed with vegetables, pork, chicken and shrimp. Customers also prefer Pinakbet ($8.95), a vegetable medley incorporating a mélange of ong choy, long bean, okra, eggplant, kabocha and bittermelon sauteed with pork, shrimp and shrimp paste. The popular dish is originally from the Northern Ilocos region, and is now prepared Max’s way.
San Luis also recommends Crispy Pata ($13.50 for mid size, $17.50 for full size), a premium pork hock simmered in a special marinade and deep fried to perfection. The dish is served with a zesty soy vinegar dipping sauce and makes for a perfect accompaniment to the aforementioned noodle and vegetable dishes.
“The dish is cooked for hours so it remains tender while also offering the tender pork skin. It’s a tedious process, but many diners recognize it as another flag-ship product of our restaurant,” San Luis says.
The dining experience would not be complete without dessert, and Max’s has diners covered with a slew of sweet treats, including Halo Halo ($5.75). This iconic dessert offers a blend of refreshing tropical fruit preserves, white beans, red (azuki) beans and milk in shaved ice. The dish is then topped with ube (purple yam) ice cream, flan and rice flakes.
Max’s is also primed to host parties and large gatherings, as the Waipahu location can accommodate up to 200 people, while the Dillingham restaurant can hold up to 150. Both locations also feature smaller private rooms that can host parties for 25 to 35 people, and Max’s of Manila offers catered trays for outside events including home parties or tailgate gatherings.
Whenever Max’s of Manila’s Filipino favorites are involved, you can be assured of a celebratory dining occasion.
Max’s of Manila
801 Dillingham Blvd. #108, Honolulu
Open daily, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
94-300 Farrington Hwy. # F-1, Waipahu
Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sundays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.