‘Funn’ comes to the city

Princess Clea Arcellaz

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO –- Eat your heart out, foodies!

Your favorite and renowned Sto. Tomas town homegrown family resto and grill house -- Funnside Ningnangan -- is finally in this capital city, the heart of the Culinary Capital of the Philippines that is Pampanga.

Opening its seventh branch after six years, Sto. Tomas Councilor and owner Architect Jhong F. Naguit said that the best way to showcase Kapampangan food is by putting it in the center of Pampanga.

“Ang Pampanga ang Culinary Capital ng Pilipinas. Naisip namin na mag-open sa mismong capital nito kasi ang pino-promote namin dito ay Kapampangan cuisine,” Naguit said.

Situated in a 3,000 square meter lot along MacArthur Highway in Barangay San Isidro, Funnside Ningnangan offers a wide array of favorites -- from grilled food, dishes like bulalo, sinigang, chopsuey, seafood and one of its specialties, chicharon bulaklak – all flavored the Kapampangan way.

The Ningnangan experience is highlighted with the restaurant’s ambience which is very native, local and open air, said Naguit.

“But the real concept in every Funnside branch is that food is always served right off from the charcoal-fired grill and stoves. And very important to us is that we don’t maintain or keep frozen food. Everything from the seafood, meat and ingredients are always fresh. So foodies will really enjoy their meals here with that smoky touch in the air. Of course, we also have ready meal offerings for those in a rush. But that too, is prepared on the day itself so you’re assured of high quality,” he said.

On top of the daily grill feast, Funnside also has free wifi and its giant LED centerpiece and TV monitors for entertainment.

Each Funnside branch, Naguit said, is usually manned by a crew of 60 to 70 food handlers and servers, mostly out-of-school youth whom they train specifically for Ningnangan operations.

“That’s the other side of Funnside. As part of our corporate social responsibility, we hire out-of-school youth who are underqualified for employment in other restaurants or food shops. That why, we are able to give them decent paying jobs and better training for their future,” noted Naguit.

For the San Fernando branch, he furthered that air-conditioned function rooms will soon be opened to cater to small or big groups who want privacy in their celebrations.

Naguit shared that the grand opening of the Funnside Ningnangan San Fernando branch also marked the sixth anniversary of the restaurant venture after it opened its first branch in Barangay San Matias, Sto. Tomas on September 9, 2011.

With the successful run of the six other branches of Funnside Ningnangan in Sto. Tomas, Apalit, Angeles City in Pampanga, Tabang and Pulilan in Bulacan and Caloocan City, Naguit said they are now planning to open Funnside Ningnangan Jr. to cater to smaller communities of food enthusiasts and diners.

“Funnside Ningnangan Jr. is basically just the same as the original, same menu and ambience, mas maliit lang siya na pwesto. Right now kasi, we make sure na at least 3,000 square meters ‘yung lot area ng isang Ningnangan para ma-cater lahat ng customers plus malaki iyung parking,” he said.

Once finalized, Funnside Ningnangan Jr. will open its first branch in Meycauayan City in Bulacan, Naguit said.

In the meantime, Fernandinos now can savor the best of Funnside, as gastronomic fun has finally come to the bustling city. (With JTD)