Phily’s Diner: Delicious and Affordable Food for Students
When in Manila and you find yourself going to UP Diliman for a food trip, be sure to visit Phily’s Diner!
There are numerous options in the Diliman campus, but Phily’s Diner is one of my favorites. It’s conveniently located in CASAA, the canteen near Palma Hall. I’m a regular customer there, and through the years, I can’t count how many times Phily’s helped me through exhausting college days! The food is affordable even on a student’s budget, and I trust the quality and the cleanliness of the food. I sat down with the people behind Phily’s to talk about its past, its present, its future, and the values held consistent throughout these changing times.
Phily’s Diner’s first branch opened in UA&P in 2009. This was when the owner was still a college student, and Phily’s has come a long way since then. Phily’s now has four branches, serving students of UA&P, Ateneo, UP Diliman, and La Salle. The owner described the whole journey as “slow”. Their expansion certainly didn’t happen overnight—they have improved along the way, and how they were in 2009 is different from the way they are now.
The changes were for the better, partly because they heavily incorporated their customers’ and employees’ feedbacks and suggestions. Some items on their menu were even from the ideas of their creative customers! Some of them requested add-ons and customized their orders. The owners tried adding some of these to their menu, and they became a big hit.
Phily’s was founded because the owners saw the gap between what the customers wanted, and what was being offered at that time. Students wanted satisfying meals that fit their budget. They wanted the food they served to be both filling and affordable for students, and they saw that there was indeed a market for that. My favorite meal from Phily’s is the Pearl Harbor, and it already has rice, beef, egg, vegetables, and more—all for 89 pesos.
The owners shared that they take pride in the quality of their food. Their ingredients are of excellent quality. They only use whole-grain rice, their potatoes and beef are imported from the US, and their nori and Japanese mayonnaise are authentic.
They also make sure to take the initiative beyond the health requirements required in the canteen. All members of their staff have health IDs, they have sanitary permits, and they conduct their own pest control apart from those by the canteen’s management. Most of all, they cook all their food on the spot. “We cook everything fresh. We don’t reheat it , and we don’t sell leftovers. We’re very proud of our cooks.”
Phily’s continues to hold on to these values. They remain innovative with their products and services. This is what their menu looks like now:
Their menu is very visual, and is organized neatly into four rows. The first row displays their burgers, the second row displays their beef rice meals, their third row displays their chicken rice meals, and the fourth row displays their fries.
Try: The Challenger; 89 pesos for single beef, 120 for double beef
2.) Beef Rice
Try: The Pearl Harbor; 89 pesos for single beef, 120 for double beef
Try: The Bruce Lee; 80 pesos for single beef, 115 for double beef
3.) Chicken Rice
The Laid Back Chicken; 75 pesos for single chicken, 85 for double chicken
Turbo Steak Fries for 85 pesos
With four branches, excellent and affordable food, and a loyal set of customers, we could only look forward to an exciting future for Phily’s. They recently opened a new kiosk, The Fat Hen. The Fat Hen is near UP Diliman’s Main Library, where they serve pasta, chicken, and soon, breakfast meals.
One of the reasons why they have such a unique menu is how open they are to their customers’ suggestions and innovations. Do you have any risky, yummy dishes you’d like to see in their menu? Comment your suggestions below!
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