Enjoy an entire brisket of corned beef at the oldest restaurant still serving in Cebu
Cebuana Alice Woolbright is part-Spanish (by way of her mother, Anne Corrales, the beauty queen crowned Miss Philippines in 1957 who also happens to be sister to singer Pilita Corrales), and part-American through her father, Edgar “Eddie” Woolbright, who started Cebu’s first planned residential development, Beverly Hills Subdivision. Alice is also the keeper of an important recipe with an incredible story.
“My father, who was a US Marine, came to the Philippines via that famous Leyte landing with Gen. Douglas MacArthur,” she recounts. “He was one of the handful of Americans who stayed on in Leyte after the war.” In the 1940s, Eddie opened the first air-conditioned restaurant and hotel there, even building the air-conditioner himself with skills he’d learned from his dad, a blacksmith from Oklahoma. In fact, Eddie also started a brisk scrap metal trade, taking advantage of metal from wartime military jeeps that had been cast off by the Americans.
In 1950, he moved to Cebu and on MC Briones Street near City Hall, opened Eddie’s Log Cabin Coffee Shop, now recognized as the oldest restaurant still serving. It was the epicenter for political and business wheeling and dealing, where power players met over the coffee and later on, after he’d introduced it in the ’70s, over a meal of corned beef.
“We serve the entire brisket, and it’s not the kind most Filipinos are used to,” Alice explains. This corned beef is boiled with cabbage, a whole potato, an onion, and their secret seasoning, and served together with mustard, and the broth it was boiled in, on the side.
“Seventy percent of our orders are for the corned beef. We also have the coconut cream pie, which is my grandmother’s recipe. It’s also different from buko pie, because we use coconut cream.”
Eddie’s Log Cabin Coffee Shop, F. Manalo St cor Queens Rd; tel: +63 32 254 8570 to 76
This article first appeared in the April 2017 issue of Smile magazine.