Sometimes a simple photo of a burger, soft drinks and fries could inspire a heavy spell of nostalgia in Twitterverse. That’s exactly what happened Sunday night when “Tropical Hut”—surprise, surprise!—trended on Twitter.
It was JP Tanyag (@dumidyeypee) who triggered the throwback frenzy when he tweeted a photo of the Tropical Hut branch facade in Escolta, along with a photo of his rather unhappy-looking tray which contains a burger-fries-soda combo—against a backdrop of empty chairs and empty tables. “Tropical Hut in Escolta, ako lang ang customer nila,” his Tweet went.
Tropical Hut in Escolta, ako lang ang customer nila. pic.twitter.com/Wl8VcuWT6c— JP (@dumidyeypee) June 12, 2022
Tanyag was at the fast food joint around 5 in the afternoon Sunday, Independence Day (hence the Philippine flag on the store front)—and it looked like he was the only one dining in. He recalled that their family used to dine at Tropical Hut along Baymart Plaza in Lower Bicutan.
There must really be something about Tropical Hut Escolta because Tanyag’s post struck a chord with @jimlopez875, who replied that he always gets misty-eyed eating in the said outlet. But like with Tanyag, it would soon be clear @jimlopez875’s sentiments for Tropical Hut apply to other branches. “Growing up in Marikina, there was a Tropical Hut in front of the church and we ate as a family there. Good times. The tastes haven't changed since then.” He also used to frequent the old Tropical Hut in front of La Salle (now occupied by Chowking), where he would meet up with colleagues.
Since JP’s tweet, there has been more than 2,500 other tweets about Tropical Hut. Many wax nostalgic, recalling memories of childhood, first dates, student years. They recall their favorite people—parents, siblings, classmates, coworkers, boyfriends, grandparents they’ve shared meals with. “I miss Tropical Hut...I remember my lolo always brought me here to treat me [with] burgers and fries when I was little,” said @AldoFuna.
“Love Tropical Hut breakfast meals!” @wateredspitfire shared. “Suki ako sa Recto dati hehe. Used to see a lot of reporters there. Madalas rallies sa Mendiola nun.”
The discussion went soon enough to favorite foods to order. Among the items on people’s lists are the Rancho Ranchero, Sili Burger, macaroni salad, chicken/tuna sandwich, club sandwich, daing na bangus, dinuguan, bistek, spring chicken. There’s practically a food offering for every craving, said @nikowl.
Let’s not forget the burgers. There are those who said the burgers at Tropical Hut are great but underrated. “Hindi pang socmed ang ambiance pero swak sa bulsa at sobrang sarap,” said @LadyVodka10. For @DRJ036, “it’s the best burger among all the chains. only 8 cuts and shake shack can match/do better.” And @salingpusalang agreed, saying she “will always choose [Tropical Hut] over Shake Shack.”
With the nostalgia triggered by Tanyag’s Twitter thread, some netizens started encouraging others to continuously support the OG Pinoy burger brand, whether thru dining in or takeout.
A company profile on Jobstreet.com says Tropical Hut Hamburger was born in 1962, when Tropical Hut Food Market, Inc. (THFMI) opened a grocery store. Inside said grocery was a coffee shop where Tropical Hut Hamburger was first introduced. This makes the brand older than Jollibee, which was established in 1978.
According to the same profile, THFMI was incorporated on February 26, 1965. But in 1972, it was acquired by Mercury Group of Companies, Inc., founded by Mariano Que. Which probably explains why there are Tropical Hut branches located just beside Mercury Drug outlets.
Tanyag’s tweet indeed triggered a Tropical Hut lovefest, with netizens quick to fill him in on outlets where he’d be in the company of many fellow Tropical Hut patrons: Total NLEX Northbound, Scout Borromeo St. in Quezon City, Cainta, Marikina Riverbanks, Farmers Cubao, Greenhills, Muñoz, Ever Gotesco Commonwealth, and many more. In fact, as per @jimnasiumNTH, if he visited the Tropical Hut in Sta. Lucia East, good luck getting a seat weekend mornings. “But you’ll notice that most of their customers are oldies, kaya you’ll feel how golden and loved the resto was back in the day.”
Well, if this Twitter thread is any indication, that love hasn’t left.