Jollibee opens first Florida branch, Fil-Ams get taste of home

Florenz Legaspi, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Mar 24 2017 09:45 AM

JACKSONVILLE, Florida - Filipino-Americans braved chilly weather and got in line before dawn to get a taste of their homeland at the opening of the first Jollibee location in this state.

Craving Chickenjoy and Jolly Spaghetti, Carine and Andre Velasco drove over 3 hours from Winter Haven to camp out outside the restaurant with their two children.

“It feels like home. We miss home,” said Carine. “Nagho-homesick kami (we get homesick), and eating Filipino food — especially Jollibee, it’s kinda like home.”

Helen de Nardis from Westside Jacksonville was the first customer in line.

“I’m excited, I’m celebrating!” she said.

The Philippines' largest fastfood operator has 31 other stores in the US, according to its website.

"Nagulat na naman kami sa excited na mga kasama natin, mga kababayan natin na, naghihintay sila dito," said Jollibee Foods Corp group president for North America Jose Miñana.

(We are surprised by the excitement of our fellow Filipinos who waited here.)

Jollibee opened its first store in Canada last December and Filipino-Canadians braved freezing temperatures to order their favorites.

Read more on Balitang America