Can you guess what the first fast food chain in Cebu was?
You may be surprised to know that it isn’t Jollibee and its juicy Chicken Joy, or McDonald’s and its timeless selection of delectable burgers.
Cebu’s fast food pioneer started out as a quaint hole-in-the-wall, which then became a popular hangout spot during the early 80s. Soon it turned into a full-blown burger joint with multiple branches all around the island.
The first Orange Brutus opened at a new mall on Colon Street on April 1, 1980. Their signature offerings included the burger and shake combo, but then expanded to include full-blown meals as they gained more fame around Cebu.
It was created by two food enthusiasts, Earl Koksheng and Efrain Pelaez Jr., introducing Cebuanos to the concept of fast food with their uniformed assembly line staff and fast services. They are also known as the first restaurant in Cebu to hire persons with disabilities (PWD).
It is a purely Cebuano establishment, only having branches in Cebu. As of 2023, there are 19 outlets in different malls and shopping centers, including Ayala Center Cebu, IT Park, and even the biggest mall in Cebu City, SM Seaside.
Orange Brutus stands out from other fast food chains by serving healthier food options. The restaurant aims to offer food that is both tasty and nutritious.
Their meals are made from the freshest ingredients available. Their shakes, for example, are from fresh, authentic fruits in the market.
They prepare their dishes on a cook-to-order basis, so none of their meals are pre-cooked, ensuring that they are fresh and tasty when served.
The stars on their menu, their burgers, are also charbroiled so that they have less cholesterol. It may take more time to cook, but it also gives it a more distinctive taste.
Their raw materials go through ozonation in order to destroy harmful bacteria and hormones. They also use healthier oils to cook their fried food like their fries and chicken.
Orange Brutus won’t serve what their owners won’t eat, so they make sure to test their recipes before selling them. This has helped the restaurant expand its burger-shake menu, adding more meal combos to cater to more customers.
Their charbroiled burgers are still a popular menu item, with Orange Brutus now selling different variations. You can pair this with a drink and some fries for a complete meal.
Their most popular rice meals, however, are the Sizzling Burger Steak and the Chicken Brutus. The latter is served with their signature gravy, giving it a more infused flavor.
The Sizzling Burger Steak is arguably a signature dish, especially since it was awarded by Sunstar’s Best of Cebu, the “Best Burger Steak” multiple times. The sizable patty lies on a sizzling plate, with a ton of gravy and a side of vegetables.
Orange Brutus also has a signature spaghetti you can eat ala carte or paired with a burger or fried chicken.
They serve affordable rice meals that cost around 100 Php. They even have silog-inspired breakfast options that are more budget-friendly than the rest of the items on their menu.
Orange Brutus dabbled in baking, creating its own set of desserts. Its most popular is the Chocolate Monster Cake, which was also awarded by Sunstar as the Best Chocolate Cake in Cebu.
Their Mango Shake, which has been a staple of the restaurant since its inception in the 1980s, is also a popular refreshment to pair with any of their delectable dishes.
LEGACY OF ORANGE BRUTUS
With 19 stores established in a dozen Cebu malls, with more possibly coming as the city improves its business and tourism sector, Orange Brutus remains a juggernaut in the Cebuano culinary scene.
It was the go-to restaurant in the early 80s, pioneering the island’s obsession with fast food, but it has slowly lost its momentum as more international fast food chains spread across the country.
Purchasing their burgers, rice meals, and desserts will help maintain its legacy for many years to come. These meals should be on a lot of people’s radars because of their nutritious value.
The brand has relied on word of mouth as a form of advertising, so telling everyone about it continues to benefit them greatly.
As we continue to praise those at the top, we should never forget their humble beginnings. Who knows what Cebu’s fast food industry would be like without Orange Brutus introducing the concept to the Cebuanos?
Dig into their chicken, munch on their burgers, and enjoy Cebu’s grandfather of convenient meals, Orange Brutus. It’s a piece of history that Cebuanos, both young and old, will definitely know of and praise for a long time.