Chef Robby Goco recommends…

The “purist’s” burger. No fancy toppings to enjoy the full flavor of the Angus Beef burger.

It’s a fast food strip by a cinema at the Greenhills Shopping Center in Manila. In Davao, Munchtown is taking a new face—a full service diner, the brand’s very first, and first venture into Mindanao.

Why the daring transition from a stall to a diner, in Davao no less? Chef Robby Goco, who owns and runs the Cyma chain and Green Pastures, said, “I’ve always wanted to open a new brand especially for Mindanao, or possibly a Cyma branch, but Carlo Lorenzana approached me for Munchtown with a full-service, all-American diner concept for Davao.”

Munchtown Diner’s trio—Chef Robby Goco, Marga Nograles & Carlo Lorenzana

This joint venture may be the break into the South this celebrity chef’s has been waiting for. Should everything run well, we may all be expecting more restaurants run by this chef cropping up soon. That would be something to look forward to.

The food business is not new to Carlo Lorenzana, who brought the Sumo Sam chain in the city and partnered with another local for Cellar de Boca. He seems confident with this new brand and concept he brought to town that took over the Sumo Sam space in SM Lanang Premiere. “I’ve always wanted to work with Chef Robby,” Carlo said. This might be the first of many partnerships to come for these two enterprising food connoisseurs.

The cheeseburgers mini-me--the sliders.

Honestly, this was the first time I’ve heard of Munchtown, maybe because I never stray out of Makati during the rare times I’m in Manila or, if the name came up, it didn’t store in my memory bank since I’m abstaining from meat, which the joint mainly serves—a cheeseburger (P190; P280 for double) and its smaller version (P105-P540, depending on number of pieces), fourteen preparations of hotdogs (P185-P250) and thirteen of fries (P90-P280), fried chicken and a few choices of Italian, Greek and Mexican inspired dishes to go along with the all American favorites.

Italian, Greek & Mexican dishes are offered along with the All-American favorites

The French Fried Chicken is honey glazed & best eaten hot

The chef purposely kept the burger preparation to one— a cheeseburger (single or double), and didn’t play with toppings for the diners to taste and enjoy the full flavor of the Angus Beef. “I’m a purist,” said the chef, and about the hotdogs he shared, “We make our own hotdogs encased in lamb intestine which is sized longer than the buns,” he pointed out, and added, “We want the everyone to start and end the meal with the hotdog.” Good idea.

All hotdogs are “house made” & longer than the bun. “We want you to start & end with the hotdog,” said the chef.

With Davao leading Mucnhtown’s new full service restaurant concept, “This is the first time Munchtown will be serving a new set of dishes called Blue Plate Specials,” Chef Robby said, a list of low-priced house specials that change regularly and served on plates unlike the other dishes that’s served on paper-lined basket trays.

So, I had to ask the chef what three items on menu he would recommend to a first time Munchtown diner like me, or any first timer. He replied with, “The Cheeseburger, the Chilidog and the Pulled Pork Shoulder Burrito.”

Pulled Pork Burrito, one of three recommended dishes by the chef to Munchtown Diner’s first timers.

Okay, all meat dishes but I gamely took a bite from each serving. I would say, the burger is a go-for-it dish, and for a filling choice, the burrito will be a good choice. It’s good to know they’re serving the chicken and vegetarian burritos as well.

But if you really want to “go for it” and throw caution to the wind (read: forget the diet), then order the creamy Milk Shakes (the Salted Caramel is good and I will go back to try the Peanut Butter, both at P190) and pair it with Dark Chocolate Mud Pie (P190.00), the latter perfectly sweetened for my taste. “We really made sure our desserts are not too sweet,” said Chef Roby Goco. At that moment, realization dawned that when it comes to desserts, I think I found a best friend in this chef.

Worth every calorie- the Salted Caramel Shake.

Must-try: Dark Chocolate Mud Pie.

Munchtown Diner is at the Ground Flour, Fountain Court of SM Lanang Premier.

For more lifestyle and travel stories, visit and

Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on September 14,2014.