JERSEY CITY, New Jersey – Famous Philippine restaurant Max’s also known as “the house that fried chicken built” opened its first store ever in the East Coast – its 8th store in the US, in the middle of a fragile US economy.
For Filipinos here, the grand opening of Max’s of Manila restaurant not only gave them a taste of the homeland — it gave them hope as well.
“For someone who has not been in the Philippines for 8 years, I really look forward to Max’s chicken. Parang it means so much to me. It’s like being home,” said Jersey City resident Nitz Rainbow.
Jersey City Mayor Jeremiah Healy lauded Patricia Berberabe and her family for opening a small business in the middle of an economic crisis.
New Jersey has a 9.4% unemployment rate — and people need small businesses for jobs.
“It’s very encouraging to see that businesses such as Max’s of Manila and entrepreneurs such as Patricia and her family are still moving forward and investing in Jersey City,” said Healy.
Max’s has hired at least 50 new employees.
Nursing student Al John Tabat said it was a struggle to finish school. But now that he’s a server at Max’s — he can pay for his tuition fees.
“I get to earn money at the same time I get to pay for school too,” Tabat said.
Berberabe said it takes guts and patience for small business owners like her to open shop.
“Getting the permit to approve the plan, it took one and a half years, and then 9 months of construction, and months to get the certificate of occupancy,” said Berberabe.
Berberabe said their persistence paid off. Her new business is doing quite well since its soft opening a couple of weeks ago.
Her challenge now, she said, is to make sure customers come back and keep small businesses alive in this tough economy.