Grumpy Joe Restaurant in Baguio Puts True "Comfort" in "Comfort Food"

You know when a restaurant doesn’t try to be more than it really is, but ends up surpassing whatever standards it might have set for itself. Grumpy Joe Restaurant in Baguio City is such a place—a modest diner situated along Leonard Wood Road serving up comfort food in all its forms. True to its name, the restaurant promises grumpy, hungry diners an unexpected transformation once they attack their plates with their spoons and forks—a shift in mood that only great food can bring about.

This casual American diner is one I would happily line up for, and I’m sure the ten (or thirty) people waiting outside would wholeheartedly agree with me. The restaurant is always jam-packed, attracting all kinds of customers: from students on tight budgets and families seeking enjoyable meals to tourists who came all the way to Benguet to sample the local dining scene. Indeed, Grumpy Joe does not disappoint, and instead, over-delivers.

While the owners didn’t seem to put too much thought on the interiors, I still found the place to be inviting with its warm lighting and wood accents. Long tables encourage big groups, and excited chatter makes up the ambience—a cafeteria-like feel sans the bland canteen food. And speaking of food, Grumpy Joe’s is far from being mediocre. In fact, I think theirs are better than some places of similar pegs in Manila.

For starters we had the Grumpy Poutine (PhP120)—a comforting appetizer made with fries, cheese, and gravy. Flavor-wise, I prefer the gravy from Main Street, the Manila restaurant (one of my favorites) which popularized this Canadian dish. However, Grumpy Joe’s was less rich so it tends to be less overpowering as well.

Their 5-Cheese Pizza (PhP480, medium) is a must-try—a mouthwatering pie loaded with cream cheese, Eden, mozzarella, cheddar, and Grumpy Joe’s homemade cheese. The pie is slightly thick and wonderfully chewy, and is so flavorful you wouldn’t think it’s made up entirely of cheese only. I absolutely loved munching on the burnt parts too!

Grumpy Joe takes their burgers seriously too—the American sandwich being what is perhaps the world’s favorite comfort food. The Cheesy Bacon Egg (PhP220) is a mouthwatering stack of bacon, cheese sauce, homemade patty, fried egg, and fries—a crowd favorite. The Double Joe (PhP235), on the other hand, has pineapple and cheese sandwiched between two chunky, firm, and extender-free patties.

The pizza and burgers are perfect with Grumpy Joe’s Private Reserve hot sauce, which must be used sparingly as it is REALLY spicy. As in, one-drop-could-make-you-burst-into-a-ball-of-sweat spicy. So unless you want to continue with the rest of your dinner with a burnt tongue and unable to taste anything, you’ll want to listen to my advice.

Being the pesto lover that I am, I got their signature Spicy Seafood Pesto (PhP210) which made me sit there with my mouth agape once it was set down on the table. The serving was so huge, I must have been mistaken for a family of four, LOL! Loaded with plump shrimps, fresh mussels, and squid, the dish had just the right amount of oiliness that I like in pesto, and was wonderfully spicy. The heat is barely noticeable at first but builds up after a few spoonfuls. I would definitely order this again the next time I swing by!

The real surprise though was the Sweet Chili Peanut Butter Chicken (PhP155)—this unassuming, not-so-attractive plate with 2 pieces of fried chicken swathed with a sweet-and-spicy peanut butter sauce. It was SO GOOD. The side potato salad balances the heat. I kept poking into my friend’s plate, I totally forgot it wasn’t mine. Hahaha!

As if our tongues weren’t burning yet, we also tried their spiced drinks—my favorite being the Inferno Mojito (PhP85), which was minty and fiery. Mixed lemonades, coffee-based drinks, and yogurt smoothies can also be found in the menu, but personally, I prefer pairing my favorite comfort food with just soda so that I don’t get distracted with too many different flavors.

If you seek the ultimate comfort food in Baguio, drop by Grumpy Joe Restaurant and partake of the no-frills indulgence fare it offers. From mouthwatering pizzas and delicious entrees, to hefty burgers and delicious pasta dishes, the restaurant’s selection of comforting dishes will satiate whatever craving you have and fill up your tummies after a long day of exploring Baguio. Indeed, Grumpy Joe elevates comfort food to a level beyond expectations.

Grumpy Joe
Leonard Wood Rd, Baguio City
Budget: around PhP200/head

Have you dined at Grumpy Joe? What were your favorites?

My meal was sponsored by Grumpy Joe Restaurant. All opinions, however, are my own.
Special thanks to

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