The Proud Flag Bearer of Pampanga’s Culinary Heritage since 1946.
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.
2 Sisig Capampangan
3 Pette Jorolan
4 EvEryBoDy’s Café Facade