written by Janelle Año
With the resurgent popularity of Pinoy fast food chain Tropical Hut (thanks to a viral Twitter post), we can’t help but reminisce about another homegrown brand, Cindy’s Bakery and Restaurant. Every batang ‘80s and 90s knows their catchy commercial jingle by heart: “When you’re hungry, Cindy’s is the place to be!” The chain made history by being one of the first local restaurants to advertise on national television.
But before causing nationwide LSS, the first Cindy’s branch opened in Tarlac in 1972 as a humble pancitan that also served freshly-baked pastries. They soon expanded to Olongapo and neighboring areas. During Cindy’s peak in the ‘70s and ‘80s, the bakeshop-slash-restaurant had strategic locations in Metro Manila, kiosks in almost every mall food court, and branches all over Northern Luzon.
Cindy’s—which, amusingly, diners often confused with Wendy’s—was named after the fairytale princess Cinderella. According to the brand, they wanted to provide diners with an ambiance that was “sweet, friendly, and humble” just like the namesake character. True to their goal, in the 80s Cindy’s was the place to be to enjoy simple yet delicious Pinoy favorites like burgers, fries, fried chicken, spaghetti, palabok, and their most well-loved dish, chicken barbecue with java rice.
Yet over the years, the numbers of their branches in the metro dwindled. Today, if you ask a younger foodie about Cindy’s, you will probably get a blank stare.
So whatever happened to the promising chain?
View this post on Instagram
Fans of Cindy’s will be glad to know that the chain is still operating today. They actually never really went away—they simply focused on their strongest locations (across Central and Northern Luzon) and their core strength (baked goods). They rebranded, dropping their “place to be” slogan in favor of encouraging patrons to “savor great moments” with Cindy’s.
View this post on Instagram
Cindy’s has an impressive number of bakeshop branches (70 bakery branches and over 120 dealers nationwide) but today there are only three bakeshop branches with an accompanying restaurant. Those seeking a trip down memory lane may go to their nearest concept store in Mandaluyong where they can enjoy Cindy’s baked goods alongside their savory dishes.
The concept store’s savory offerings largely stays faithful to the original menu with some tasty new additions like roast beef, grilled liempo, and even salted egg chicken skin and fries.
Meanwhile, their bakery serves the usual bakeshop fare (such as egg pies, mamon, brownie bites, ensaymada, stuffed pandesal, and celebration cakes) as well as fresh-from-the-oven pastries (Korean egg drop sandwiches, pizza, pork floss buns, donut de turon, and cheese donuts, to name a few) and made-to-order cakes like Instagram-worthy minimalist cakes and the Cindy’s piñata (a geometric, heart-shaped chocolate dome that you smash with a tiny mallet to reveal hidden treats).
Can’t travel to just yet? Customers can order through Grab and foodpanda from their Mandaluyong Branch at (0917) 704-6121 and (0919) 079-5118.