Arts & Leisure

The Aristocrat declared a historic site

Posted on July 18, 2013

THE ARISTOCRAT is an iconic restaurant that grew from the inspirational rags-to-riches story of Doña Engracia Cruz-Reyes or Aling Asiang. It started as a small vehicle which served as a rolling food stall that roamed around Luneta and other areas in Manila in 1936. It went on to become one of the most famous restaurants in the Malate district known for its scrumptious Filipino dishes.

UNVEILING THE MARKER: (L-R) Ernesto P. Leones of the Public Works department, National Historical Commission Executive Director Ludovico D. Badoy and Chairman Maria Serena Diokno, The Aristocrat’s President Priscila Reyes Pacheco and Chairman of the Board Raymund Reyes -- HTTP://ARISTOCRAT.COM.PH

On July 4, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) honored The Aristocrat by installing a historical marker at the restaurant’s original branch on Roxas Blvd., in Malate, Manila. When declaring something as historical, the NHCP considers the following: whether the person, event, site or structure created changes in the society; if these changes endured the test of time; if the event, person, site, or structure imparts a significant link to the past; and that it is still relevant for the present times.

"It is with great honor that The Aristocrat Restaurant shall be recorded in the National Historical Commission of the Philippines National Registry of Historic Sites and Structures in the Philippines," said Priscila Reyes Pacheco, president of the Aristocrat Restaurant and third generation descendant of the founder, in a speech during the unveiling of the marker.

The marker reads: Nagsimula sa isang lumang sasakyang ginamit ni Engracia Cruz-Reyes o Aling Asiang bilang tindahan ng meryenda, na lumilibot sa Luneta at iba pang pook sa Maynila, Hulyo 1936. Dito itinatag ang unang gusaling kinilalang The Admiral Dewey at kinalauna’y pinangalanang The Aristocrat, 1939. Isa sa mga tanyag na kainang nagtampok ng mga Lutong Pilipino. (It started as an old vehicle used by Engracia Cruz-Reyes or Aling Asiang as a snack shop that roamed the Luneta and other areas in Manila, July 1936. In this side was the original building known as The Admiral Dewey and which was given the name The Aristocrat, 1939. One of the known restaurants that served Filipino Food.)

"The Aristocrat has served the general public regardless of social status in life," Ms. Pacheco said. "My lola (grandmother) used to say, ‘I treat The Aristocrat customers as my own children.’ Hence, I see to it that the food we serve is delicious, of good quality, and reasonably priced." -- J. T. Cruz