By Thomas Sellers Jr.
An alternative to Mexican food and barbecue has arrived in Millington.
Fulfilling a desire in the Asian food category, Manila Filipino Restaurant opened Aug. 29 at 4750 Navy Road. The aunt and nephew combination of Julita Sta Romara and Dexter Torio wanted to establish an eatery that brings authentic homemade Filipino cuisine to the market while sharing family traditions.
“My nephew and I are the owners,” Romara said. “That’s my niece behind the counter. That’s my husband over there, and we have two friends helping us. We do this as a family. It’s a family ran business.”
Joining Romara and Torio are his mother, Susan Torio, and sister,Sherire Vispo, as well as Romara’s husband. Edwin, and her daughter, Doreen Herirk, alongside her niece, Analyn Stewart, and close family friend Josie Coughlin.
“We see a big opportunity and that’s why we started the business,” Julita said. “He was in service here and I came over. I thought this would be a nice location to start the business and lead the family so we can move forward together.”
The family’s connection with the Millington community has already expanded with Dexter’s relationship with the military. Currently serving, Torio has been on the premises in uniform, joining colleagues for lunch.
“I was based in Virginia for so long,” Torio recalled. “There were a lot of Filipino restaurants I would go to. I noticed there were not a whole lot around the Memphis area. I wanted to bring that here.”
Torio has called America home since he was 19 years old. Now his business home is on Navy Road, paying tribute to the capital of the Philippines.
Manila is a densely populated bayside city on the island of Luzon, which mixes Spanish colonial architecture with modern skyscrapers. The city was on the world stage in 1975 with the third and final battle between boxing legends Muhammah Ali and Joe Frazier. The iconic match for the world heavyweight championship became known as the Thrilla in Manila.
Romara and Torio are hoping to score a knockout with their business. Manila Restaurant prides itself on being an authentic homemade Filipino cuisine. Manila Restaurant is a family owned and operated with close to 80 years of experience cooking Filipino cuisine, and the owners pride themselves on offering authentic homemade Filipino cuisine.
“Manila Restaurant strives to bring you the best service with only the freshest ingredients as possible,” Romara said. “We hope that Manila Restaurant will help bring back the memories of old-fashioned home cooking and traditional celebrations.
“We want to expand,” she concluded. “Actually we’re opening soon a store off Wilkinsville across from Walmart. This is only the beginning hopefully for us.”
Manila is at 4750 Navy Road in Millington and is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, call 901-407-2224, visit them on Facebook or visit newmanilarestaurant.com.