Why Max's Restaurant is a Beloved Filipino Chain — Halo Halo

Published by Darron Toy on

(funky music) – We're in Vegas! Hey everybody! We're in my hometown of Las Vegas. There's the Vegas sign behind
me and a bunch of tourists. But the spot that I want to take you is actually off the strip. It's a chain restaurant
from the Philippines. It's called Max's Restaurant. And it's a place that I went
to growing up with my family. You celebrate graduations
there, reunions, birthdays. They're known for their fried chicken and you can get all the classics, and we're gonna talk to a chef that has been there for over 50 years. My family and my friends are coming and the crew's gonna join
us, too, so let's go. (jazzy music) Since 1945, Max's has become known as The House That Fried Chicken Built. It all began here, after World War II at Maximo Gimenez's house in Quezon City where American GIs would
come cover to chat and drink. The GI's missed two things from America. Steak and fried chicken, and that's where Max's
niece Ruby Trota comes in. Soon after her breadless
fried chicken recipe was born, eventually Filipinos
started dining there, too, and booking parties for every occasion. Today, Max's has grown
to over 200 locations around the world. Max's is marketed toward Filipinos. Filipino food for Filipinos. How do you navigate in terms
of moving the food forward, how do you find that balance? – There's definitely a balance. Probably about 10 years ago, we had to make a strategic decision because we were really saying, "Let's get into the mainstream," meaning non-Filipino market, and we started looking at menus and even coming up with
an international menu, even adjusted some of the items
to make it more approachable for non-Filipinos. And then we started getting kickback from our Filipino customers,
who are our primary market. – Oh, right. – They were saying, "What are you doing?" I don't think we're gonna try to become like a fusion place, kind of hip, and there's a place for that, and I think that is putting
Filipino food more on the map. I think for Max's, our
primary market is Filipinos, and I think we have to stick with that. Though right now our
locations are all in places where there's about
100,000 Filipinos or more, and that guarantees our success. It's a good franchise model. (funky music) – [Francesca] What I love
about Max's is the consistency. No matter where I go,
it's always the same. So how do you maintain that
at all of your locations? – [Bill] It starts with having
a great chef like Chef Tobal. He started in the Philippines. My cousin brought him over here to open up the first store in Los Angeles, and then he's been in the US ever since. Now he's the head chef here. He'll make something and we just have to note down every item. So he really knows every item at Max's and how it's supposed to
taste through the years, through decades. – My Tagalog is not that
great, but I can understand. You help open basically every location in North America.
– Every location. – [Francesca] The chicken, the manok. – The chicken, the manok
is, the chicken is secret. – Secret. – I like of course somebody
asks me about the chicken. – So what do you tell them? (Francesca laughs) – [Francesca] The recipe
hasn't changed right? – [Cheffy] Always the same,
yeah, always the same. Do this, do that. – [Francesca] You wouldn't be here. – Exactly, yeah. – Yes, and then 51 more. – 51, oh, I don't think so. (laughter) I think it's enough, yeah. – (laughs) It's enough. Cheffy, I'm so honored to meet a legend. (applause) How did Max's become a
place for celebrations? – I think it happened
naturally over the years. It started in my grandfather's house. There was the big garden, fish ponds, etc. So it was naturally people started coming and it filled out the
downstairs of the house, but it was too small, so they started going into the garden, and they would start booking
parties in the garden, and then they started having weddings. So almost every Filipino you meet has probably gone to
some party at a Max's. – Do you remember the last
time we went to Max's together? – Ha, I can't remember, in LA. – A long time, yeah, it was in LA. – [Teresita] It took them
a long time to come here. – It took them a long time
to come to Vegas, yeah. – I was waiting and waiting
all the time. (laughter) – This fried chicken is what
makes Max's Restaurant– – [Teresita] The best
chicken that made popular. – It's the best chicken according to Lola. What do you like about the fried chicken? – It's really just basic,
but it's well done. – Yeah, it's simple. I mean, I love fried chicken. This is a very specific style
and it is really different from other fried chicken,
compared to like Popeyes, KFC, and yet somehow it's still
really crispy and tasty. I really understand why people like it. It's really cool that
Filipinos that immigrate here, like my Lola, find that
familiarity in the chicken, and they really look for that. The fact that Cheffy
has been able to create this consistency with the food,
so no matter where you go, whether it be in the
United States or abroad, you know what you're getting. Because it's not Filipino fast food, this is really traditional Filipino food that a lot of people can enjoy. There's something for everybody, and I think that's the reason
Filipinos keep coming back. I hope you enjoyed this
episode at Max's Restaurant. If you want to see more videos like this, you can click here.


Francesca Manto · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am

Hey all! Really excited to be back with another season of Halo-Halo. Thanks for stopping by & hope you enjoyed the episode! Max's is all about nostalgia for me. Would love to hear if it reminded you of any memories. Come back for another episode next week! (Make sure to enjoy some fried chicken in the meantime – ha)

오세륜 · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am

The chef is kinda funny tho hahahah

Leo Paul Bravo · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am

I love it. Max's is always my favorite. You added a new perspective of it from the eyes of an emigrant Pinoy. Classy, with sophistication but subtle. Just like a true Pinoy….or Filipina. Thank you for sharing this.

Mack Man · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am

Actually I don't like Max's signature roasted chicken, it's bland but the other Filipino food are ok to me… 👍🏻👋🏻🇵🇭

JUST JAPE · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am

Now i can feel the Filipinoness of this resto

Giant Chingu · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am

I prefer mang inasal chicken to max chicken.

Explosive Rift · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am

If they never change they will fail eventually. A lot of restaurants fail from not changing their recipes. Tastes change, eventually people will stop liking this food, it is inevitable.

Drew Bonifacio · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am


Jin Ngee Chia · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am

Without fail whenever I visit the Philippines for business or leisure, I will visit Max's.

Virginia wolf · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am

nobody cares about max's hir in the philippines cuz it's overpriced and the food is not even good and their servings are so small. #IJS

César Tan-Hee · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am

Max's is good, but ANDOK'S is Delicious

Bronze Hachi · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am

I took my non filipino friends at Max’s about ten of them. They all loved it.

Jaime Escalante · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am

The Las Vegas Max's is the worst I've been to. The Yelp reviews will concur.

Nothing but nothing · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am

Max will never be Max without Jufran😂 HAHAHA

Rj Pogi · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am

Max is terrible over price and the chicken is so dry.

Ronald Bananola · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am

Sarap to the bones. Right.

Rommel Rada · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am

I personally think their chicken is dry and bland. Tho i love their desserts.

adalycean · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am

Max las vegas got close for failing sanitation check last june 2017 yummy

marc vincent solatorio · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am

Sorry maam but for many Filipino nothing beats the BEE!!! ..and # will tell

The Nightmare7392 · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am


minighi200 · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am

Max restaurant isn’t even that great 🙄🙄 Even going back to PI, we barely go there

Sunjie Torres · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am

If you live in the Philippines you only go to Max when there’s a celebration or a party. It’s really expensive for the average filipino and mostly people with money can afford. The food is traditional and good.

Jenny Pamplona · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am

No it's not. It's Jollibee.

Nicson Flores · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am

If you want to go classier than Jollibee but still want Filipino food you go to Max's

emci · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am

I admire manong chef for his loyalty and dedication to Max's. I hope the company compensates him well. Dapat nga sa 51 years may stockholder na din sya kahit 5% lang.

brattybaby · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am

Heard that Max’s will open in Houston??? I’m excited!!!!! Hello fried chicken!!

jao ramos · July 27, 2019 at 11:46 am

Sizzling tofu ftw

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