Round-the­world cuisines in a Marik­ina hide­out

In­dus­triya Marik­ina builds a rep­u­ta­tion for com­fort cui­sine on the back of an­other no­ble craft


In­dus­triya Marik­ina is a love let­ter. It’s writ­ten not only for the shoe in­dus­try, the well-known crown­ing glory of its home­town and the busi­ness that has blessed its own­ers with the for­tune to put up a place as grand as this; it is also writ­ten for the con­cept in its name, in­dus­triya. It’s a lit­eral homage to the hard work that went into build­ing the place and run­ning it, from lay­ing out floor­boards to fig­ur­ing out how to man­age a restau­rant af­ter years of sell­ing shoes.

How could it not be a love let­ter to shoe­mak­ing? The property is an old, idle fac­tory that owner Al­fredo Cheng’s fam­ily owns, con­verted into a lofty restau­rant and events place. (It’s as pala­tial an es­tab­lish­ment as they want it to be—and Cheng had al­ways wanted to get into the restau­rant busi­ness—be­cause they don’t owe any­one rent.) An­tique shoe­mak­ing ma­chines stand all around the area, pro­vid­ing the space with a sheen of history. The pa­per place­mats laid out on each ta­ble take us through the steps of making a sin­gle shoe us­ing old text­book il­lus­tra­tions. Noth­ing was spared in or­der to fill out In­dus­triya’s mythos.

All of it is Cheng’s brain­child, and it’s the prod­uct of the hard­est of work, his and the mem­bers of his fam­ily. We wanted to show our her­itage from the shoes,” says Alex Cheng, Al­fredo’s daugh­ter who helps her fa­ther run the place. There are no other restau­rants that are con­cen­trated on the shoe in­dus­try.”

The cui­sine is also a sub­tle trib­ute to an­other side of shoe­mak­ing. An ini­tial glance at the menu will re­veal a seem­ingly ran­dom mix of Filipino, Western, and Ja­panese food; it turns out that the of­fer­ings were cob­bled from what the Chengs would have when they would go abroad for shoe fairs.

That means In­dus­triya seems to be the only (if not one of the few) restau­rant where you could or­der Zam­bales long­gan­isa and fries along­side their own version of maki, along­side a seafood pasta in white wine cream sauce, along­side a tra­di­tional-look­ing Ital­ian pizza, along­side bag­net, along­side Pi­noy bar­beque cooked like Per­sian ke­babs—and ev­ery­thing is de­li­cious. No cui­sine suf­fers, and ev­ery­thing is sat­is­fy­ing.

That’s a lineup you’d more com­monly see in buf­fets, but that’s not a co­in­ci­dence. That’s also why our food is in­ter­na­tional, be­cause we wanted to cater to what­ever food you want,” re­marks Cheng. Be­cause In­dus­triya is also an events place, they have a ca­ter­ing ser­vice. We have a buf­fet menu, but if you tell us you want [some­thing else], it’s okay with us. Our chefs have their own spe­cial­ties.”

And when you think about that no­tion and let it linger, it shouldn’t be sur­pris­ing to any­one. Hard work is ev­ery­thing In­dus­triya wants to be about, af­ter all.

In­dus­triya’s name harks to the shoe fac­tory that birthed the restau­rant.

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