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.