This article is sponsored by Jollibee USA
Jollibee is a Filipino food chain that some area residents may not be totally familiar with. The hub for super savory fried chicken, sweet spaghetti, and famous peach mango hand pies is in the midst of a global expansion. The 40th U.S. location for the one and only Jollibee happens to be in the heart of Pinellas Park.
Is it worth the “trip” from the ‘Burg? Hell yes.
Location: 4057 Park Boulevard North
Hours: Sunday-Monday, 9am-10pm
An extremely grand opening
I’ve gone to many restaurant openings, but none so far have featured confetti canons, a live DJ, a giant dancing bee, and at least one customer waiting 16+ hours to be first in line.
Beyond the hype, what makes Jollibee so special to its loyal, dedicated followers? Let’s start with the hand pies, because I’m a dessert person.
The peach mango hand pie was a treat many of the 100+ eager customers in line on opening day were salivating over. I can see why. The crisp yet flaky crust tenderly holds an illuminant nucleus of peach mango flavor.
To me, it’s literally sweet sunshine. Enough with the sweet stuff, let’s get down to serious business.
Might be the best new fried chicken spot in Tampa Bay
Fried chicken, folks. Or in this case, Chickenjoy. Jollibee serves fried chicken by the bucket, and you will probably devour it accordingly, at least I did. It’s super savory. The chicken meat is juicy, the breading is delicate, but still produces that ASMR-friendly crunch we all crave.
Sweet and spaghetti may no go together in your mind, but it somehow works at Jollibee. The steamy spread of spaghetti is immersed in banana ketchup, a popular condiment in the Philippines where Jollibee was founded. The sauce is made with mashed banana, sugar, vinegar, and spices. Bits of hot dog are added to the dish, too. It’s definitely hearty, and I think will surprise some diners at how much they enjoy it.
Must try fried chicken sandwich
The battle for chicken sandwich supremacy is fierce; Jollibee may just take the W with their chicken sandwich. Soft buttery bread houses a generous portion of crispy fried chicken served with a juicy tomato slice and crunchy as heck lettuce. It’ll become your new work lunch go-to.
Jollibee’s seriously good sides include adobo rice that I could eat by the truck load, and mashed potatoes if you’re really craving the comforts of a home cooked meal.
Bust out the Halo-Halo. This exquisite frozen dessert features a bit of flan, a scoop of ube ice cream, and a scoop of mango ice cream over a cauldron of shave ice.
Reinventing fast food
Yes, Jollibee is fast food, but it certainly doesn’t taste that way. It’s comfort incarnate, and is set to introduce a whole host of Tampa Bay area residents to the glory of Filipino cuisine.
Where to next for Jollibee? Following the Pinellas Park opening, representatives were headed to Hawaii, then London for respective openings.
Jollibee Pinellas Park, 4057 Park Boulevard North