The enchanted carriage was ready and it was to be parked along Luneta. Now, if only it had a name.
Originally, the idea was to name the store “Andy’s” after the eldest Reyes son. Andy, however, did not relish the idea of attaching his name to the family rolling store. Digging into her deep sense of irony, Aling Asiang named their mobile canteen “The Aristocrat” – a place oriented to Filipino families with small incomes and large appetites.
The name “The Aristocrat” would turn out to be very well suited to what Aling Asiang was doing – using the freshest premium ingredients to turn ordinary Filipino food into culinary fare so good that it is fit for royalty.
Whenever Aling Asiang cooked food for customers, she would put in the same love and care as though she were cooking for her own children. In their poorer days, Aling Asiang remembered how food was an integral part of family gatherings. Even in the simplicity of a breakfast of pandesal with butter o a merienda of kakanin, the Reyeses gathered and were together physically and in spirit. This is why The Aristocrat has always been oriented to the family.
More than just selling tasty creations, The Aristocrat was a place where the common folk could expect to get good service and hefty portions at reasonable prices. Eventually, The Aristocrat would also give their mass-based clientele a taste of continental and Chinese cuisine which used to be available only in pricey hotels.
A sign that read “The Aristocrat” was mounted on the salvaged Ford and its windows were opened to literally give customers an inside peak on how their food was being prepared.
“Masarap, malinis, at mura” – these were the three tenets of Aling Asiang which she dutifully impressed upon her food server at The Aristocrat who was trained to prepare native sandwiches without touching any of the ingredients by hand.
Thus, the deft manipulation of knife and fork to produce adobo and fish fillet sandwiches became an attraction
No one has ever bothered to verify whether it’s was the taste or the showmanship that caused the long endless queues. On one July fourth celebration, The Aristocrat sold 8,000 adobo sandwiches at cost 20 centavos each.
Eventually, Aling Asiang looked at elevating her rolling canteen into a bonafide restaurant and struck up a deal with the landowners to put up The Aristocrat at the same street corner where they have faithfully served and satisfied thousands of customers.