I visited Baguio last week to get my cold climate fix. For me, the best time to visit Baguio is in January, when the place is at its coldest. At that time of the year expect 15-20 Celcius, almost like the West Coast in Spring.
One of the highlights of my visit to the Summer Capital is my discovery of 50’s Diner on upper Gen. Luna Road, corner Brent Road. I noticed the place is packed especially at night, and people even wait to be seated. Curious, I tried it out.
The ambience tries to be a 50’s diner, complete with neon, 50’s movie posters, a broken jukebox and waitresses dressed like sailors. But it is far from high end. A local Johnny Rockets it ain’t. It’s not even a Gram’s Diner equivalent, but somehow one is able to forgive the mediocre aesthetics.
A look at the menu will disorient you. The Diner usuals (i.e. burgers, milkshakes and fries) only make up a third of the place’s offerings. There were a lot of non-diner food available as well, including pizza, pasta and viand-and-rice combinations. A slight case of identity crisis here.
Another thing to notice is the prices of the food. They were cheap, and I mean really really cheap. A cheeseburger is priced at 50 Pesos and the average price of the food items is about 80-120 Pesos! One can budget about 150-200 Pesos here for an entree and smoothie and leave the place bloated and happy. You wouldn’t spend more at 50’s Diner than you would at Jolibee! Good prices is probably the owner’s business strategy, and could be one of the reasons why the place is always packed. Maybe they can keep the prices reasonable because they have no air-conditioning (typical of Baguio restos). That can really cut down operational costs.
Just for fun, I ordered the most expensive item: the “Mix Grill.” What I got was this:
The monster platter that you see above is a mix of grilled chicken, pork chop, and jumbo hotdog, along with minute steak, home cut fries, and buttered veggies. Believe it or not it’s only Php 180! At this price one would typically expect small portions, but the Mix Grill was a belly buster. The best part is that it tastes great! My favorite bits were the tender minute steak and the greasy fries.
If you’re visting Baguio, I’d recommend paying 50’s Diner a visit. Expect a heavy crowd, specially at lunch and dinner. Most likely you will wait to be seated, but in my opinion it’s worth the wait. Try to be early if you can, around 11am for lunch or 6pm for dinner, to avoid the hassle. The best way to get there is on a cab, as I’m pretty sure the cab drivers know the place. It would save you time looking for it and would free you of parking hassles, as parking space is very limited.
Just to be realistic and fair, do not expect T.G.I.Friday’s caliber of food. But I assure you of a tasty, hearty and satisfying meal at a great value. What’s more, 50’s Diner is a “Baguio only” experience and surely beats going to SM Baguio and dining at tired and boring “Manila usual” restaurants.