Bukidnon’s first All American Diner opens today at Dahilayan Forest Park in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.
The Americana-themed place is owner Jess Paras homage to the humble beginnings of his family when their late father Pablo Paras Sr. opened Paras General Repair Shop in Puntod, Cagayan de Oro City.
Jess Paras and Chef Sonny Pugeda bring you a totally new dining experience at Jessie's Diner opening August 2 8 at Dahilayan Forest Park
This explains the presence of ten vintage cars and a vintage M38 Jeep like the ones Pablo Paras Sr. rebuilt from junked US army jeeps into jeepneys plying the Downtown-Macabalan route.
“Beside our Dad’s repair shop was a Mobilgas filling station so Jessie’s Diner is a direct reference to that time and that gas station,”Jess explained.
The vintage Mobilgas gasoline pumps were rescued and repurposed from a nearby warehouse where they had lain idle for decades and completing the Americana theme of gas stations from that era are the authentic decals Jess ordered online from the US.
The interior is also a facsimile of American diners from the 1960s complete with a jukebox, neon signage, decals and memorabilia like a wall dedicated to the Beatles and the original album cover of Mario Lanza’s “Student Prince” who was Manong Pabling’s favorite singer.
And to complete the American diner experience, Jess asked his college colleague from De La Salle University Chef Sonny Pugeda to oversee the Mexican themed menu inspired by Chef Sonny’s former authentic Mex Resto in Washington D.C. named “Ay Caramba!” Esta bien!
So for the soft opening starting August 28, lucky diners will have first dibs at the opening menu straight from Washington D.C. Ay Caramba!
“We promise you a culinary experience you will not get anywhere else in Mindanao,” Chef Sonny said. What’s best about this starting line-up is it’s all sourced from locally available ingredients so diners are assured they can come back again and again and again until they’ve gone through the entire menu. And then come back again to show it to their guests from out of town, if only for an excuse to come back!
Here’s the starting menu lineup for lucky guests starting August 28 at Jessie’s Diner:
Shrimp Quesadillas with your choice of three salsas
Starters: Chicken Wings (Parmesan Peppercorn or Sour Cream), Nachos, Quesadillas (3 Cheese, Steak, Chicken, Shrimp or Fire Roasted Veggies), French Fries (Cheese or Sour Cream)
Soup: Corn Tortilla and Clam Chowder
Salads: Taco Salad (Steak, Chicken, Shrimp or Fire Roasted Veggies) and Dahilayan Forest Salad
Sandwiches: Tuna Panini, Cheese Panini, Corned Beef Reuben, Chicken Club, Hamburger (Cheese Barbecue or Bacon),Frank or Chili Frank
Entrées: Fajitas, Burritos or Tacos (Steak, Chicken, Shrimp or Fire Roasted Veggies, Spaghetti with meatballs, Mac & Cheese
Dessert: Fried Cheesecake, Banana Split and Ice Cream
Jess and Chef Sonny had me try the Corned Beef Reuben, Clam Chowder, Shrimp and Chicken Quesadillas, Tuna Panini and Fried Cheesecake. I did not find any wanting in taste or quality but everyone’s entitled to his or her own opinion so better hurry up there before the inventory for the day runs out.
There is more to Jessie’s Diner than what we can say at this point but that is another story for another day.
Meantime, Dahilayan Forest Park beckons. Godspeed!