Manitoba

2nd Jollibee opening draws overnight lineups and morning crowds

Excitement about a food chain from the Philippines has not waned. Customers lined up at 10 p.m. Monday to be the first to patronize Jollibee's second Winnipeg — and Canadian — location on Tuesday.

New location of popular Filipino fast-food restaurant opens at Northgate mall in Winnipeg

The excitement over a food chain from the Philippines has not waned. Customers lined up late Monday night to be the first to patronize Jollibee's second Winnipeg location at Northgate mall on Tuesday. 0:55

The excitement over a food chain from the Philippines has not waned.

Customers lined up at 10 p.m. Monday to be the first to patronize Jollibee's second Winnipeg location at Northgate mall on Tuesday. The restaurant is also Canada's second location.

"I was second last year, so I wanted to be first this year," Jorge Losorata, who was first in line, said with a laugh. "I was kind of jealous."

The fast-food chain, known for its fried chicken and sweet Filipino spaghetti, opened its first Canadian location in Winnipeg near Polo Park last December. That opening drew hundreds of people and the restaurant was standing room only for weeks as Winnipeg's Filipino population visited for a taste of home and other 'Peggers wondered what the fuss was about.

The food, along with the taste of home, keep him coming back, said Losorata.

"The chicken — that staple — the burgers, spaghetti, the palabok, the peach mango pie for dessert is also a big thing.

"It's a sweet spaghetti; a lot of Filipinos like it. It's very different from regular spaghetti. It's something you've got to try."

Customers line up at Jollibee's second location in Winnipeg on Tuesday. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Maribeth Delacruz, Jollibee Canada's vice-president, said she wasn't expecting lineups for Tuesday's opening. About 60 people packed the restaurant at the 7 a.m. opening.

"It's the second restaurant. We were absolutely surprised that people would still line up, but we're very excited and we're very ecstatic that people are still welcoming Jollibee to the community."

The first location outside of Winnipeg will open in Toronto in the new year, Delacruz said, and more Jollibee restaurants will open in Winnipeg in the future.

"There's a lot of opportunity here for Jolibee in Winnipeg. There's a lot of Filipinos in the city, about 60,000 of them, all in a density that is so close together. Our first location is really just a small restaurant, and people were really clamouring just for a second location that's nearer to them and a bigger restaurant, so we built one that's a lot bigger this time."

It was worth the wait, said Losorata.

"Yeah, it's crazy, but it's crazy good, though."

The first Canadian Jollibee franchise opened in Winnipeg Wednesday. 0:51

About the Author

Elisha Dacey

Journalist

Elisha Dacey is a journalist with CBC Manitoba. She is the former managing editor of Metro Winnipeg and her work has been seen in newspapers from coast to coast. Reach her at elisha.dacey@cbc.ca.

With files from Sabrina Carnevale and Jeff Stapleton