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Get Jolly: Filipino Fast Food Chain Jollibee Is Headed to Grand Central

The Filipino fast food chain will open its fourth location in the city next year

Jollibee, the mascot after which the franchise is named, hangs out at the counter.
Jollibee, the mascot after which the franchise is named.
Rico Cruz/Eater NY

Jollibee, the Filipino fast food chain with a cult-following in the United States, has signed a deal to open its fourth location in the city. According to Commercial Observer, the new restaurant is located a short distance from Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal at 14 East 42nd Street, between Madison and Fifth avenues. It’s expected to open by the end of 2023.

No surprises here, but New Yorkers love Jollibee. When the Philippines-based fast food chain opened its first Manhattan location at 609 Eighth Avenue, between West 39th and 40th streets, fans of the brand braved a nor’easter to be among the first to taste its fried chicken with gravy, spaghetti, and peach-mango pies. The first two people in line got there more than 20 hours before the opening.

Jollibee opened its first location in Woodside, Queens, in 2009 on a stretch of Roosevelt Avenue that is home to the city’s largest collection of Filipino businesses, and since then, it has gradually signed deals to expand across the city, including in Times Square. The restaurant chain had been looking to open at Grand Central even before the pandemic, Commercial Observer reports.

Backed by billionaire owner Tony Tan Caktiong, Jollibee has been on an expansion tear in the United States. In 2018, the company sunk $12.4 million into celebrity chef Rick Bayless’s Tortazo chain and acquired fast-food giant Smashburger later that year. Over the next five to seven years, it plans to bring 500 more locations of Jollibee to North America, according to Commercial Observer.

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