EV­ERY­BODY'S CAFE

The Proud Flag Bearer of Pam­panga’s Culi­nary Her­itage since 1946.

Let’s Eat - - CONTENTS - WORDS BY SPANKY HIZON EN­RIQUEZ

The sto­ries about Ev­ery­body’s Café are leg­end; some al­most sound apoc­ryphal, but they’re all true, and his­tor­i­cally ac­cu­rate, with pho­to­graphic ev­i­dence span­ning over 70 years. You see, the restau­rant was named “Ev­ery­body’s” be­cause ev­ery­one was al­ways, and will al­ways be welcome there. Dur­ing its early years of ex­is­tence, San Fer­nando was not the mod­ern city it is now; it was still very much con­sid­ered to be part of the “boon­docks”: there was a very ac­tive Amer­i­can mil­i­tary pres­ence in the province in the decade fol­low­ing World War II, and the Huk­bal­a­hap in­sur­gency was brew­ing in the swamps of Cand­aba. Right and Left were in di­rect prox­im­ity in Pam­panga dur­ing the 1950s, yet all an­i­mosi­ties were set aside when they were in Ev­ery­body’s Café. It was then, as now, a place for dé­tente, good vibes, and great Ca­pam­pan­gan cook­ing. Things haven’t changed much in the present. On any given day, it’s not un­usual to see a former Pres­i­dent of the Philip­pines din­ing here, side by side with the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion’s VIPs. There’s al­ways a smat­ter­ing of show­biz folk, and an end­less stream of tourists from all over the coun­try and all over the world, long­ing for a gen­uine Pam­panga feast.

Ev­ery­body’s Café, not un­like Max’s and Aris­to­crat, started sim­ply: Ben­ito San­tos, pop­u­larly known as “Apung Bito”, and his wife Car­men de­cided to open a small stall with Pan­sit Pal­abok and Mami as their spe­cial­ties. They tick­led the palates of their ca­balens, and soon, they had to ex­pand and find a big­ger lo­ca­tion. The cou­ple’s good friend, San Fer­nando’s dash­ing Mayor Rodolfo Hizon, helped them find the restau­rant’s first lo­ca­tion on Con­sunji St., where Ev­ery­body’s be­came even more pop­u­lar. By 1967, the San­tos cou­ple moved to its present lo­ca­tion on MacArthur High­way, where the restau­rant stands to this day. It’s be­come a land­mark. The very mod 1960s-era sig­nage is still around, and step­ping into the restau­rant feels like go­ing back in time to a kin­der, gen­tler era. There’s no need to be con­form to In­sta­gram-ob­sessed millennial hip­sters food­ies’ idea of what a restau­rant should be. In ev­ery re­spect, Ev­ery­body’s Café is rep­re­sen­ta­tive of ev­ery Ca­pam­pan­gan kitchen. It’s cozy and com­fort­able and warm and wel­com­ing, and filled with fan­tas­tic food. All the clas­sics are avail­able at the counter: the mor­con, made with Marca del Rey Chorizo de Bil­bao and duck egg yolks; the rich­est and purest, high­est qual­ity aligue (crab fat); pin­dang – the tra­di­tional carabao meat tapa fer­mented in salt and sugar; and the ex­ot­ica, the be­tute (stuffed frogs) and ev­ery­one’s fa­vorite “Fear Fac­tor” del­i­cacy, ca­maru (field crick­ets).

The daugh­ter of the founders, Pette Jorolan, and her son Poch, now run the restau­rant. Ev­ery day, mother and son are around to greet their guests and proudly talk about their fam­ily’s food. And they’ve not re­ally made many changes in the restau­rant, nei­ther in the dé­cor nor the menu, be­cause re­ally, there’s no need to. Ev­ery­one still loves Ev­ery­body’s, and ev­ery­body al­ways will.

PHO­TOS BY GABBY CANTERO

2 Sisig Ca­pam­pan­gan

3 Pette Jorolan

4 Ev­Ery­BoDy’s Café Fa­cade

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