A THOMASIAN alumna transformed a container van into a rustic-themed restaurant located at Padre Noval street, Manila

Emelyn Vicencio, an architecture alumnus, designed Food Truck Manila, a three-story restaurant that offers American and Mexican food.

She was tapped by restaurant owner Joni Cabrera, who also owns Cafe UK in Padre Noval, to be the lead designer of his new enterprise.

Even when she was still a student, Vicencio had designed for Pancake House in Mendiola and Dapitan, Manila and Rockband on Padre Noval.

Vicencio’s mastery of architectural programs aided her in coming up with conceptual designs for Rockband. She was later invited to also design Cafe UK.

“I like being challenged. Before, I had no idea how to [design] for a food business but my personality is that even though I don’t know how to do it at first, I will [still] accept it then along the way I will learn how to do it,” she said.

She decided to come up with a rustic and industrialized interior design, a style that focuses on the texture of the object while not completely changing the material’s appearance. She also integrated a beach themed color palette of turquoise and a paper white color.

Vicencio applied the rustic art style particularly in the selection of the furniture and the paint of the food joint. Most of the furniture were recycled from Warehouse Burger and Wings, a food joint that closed last July and was also owned by Cabrera. She replaced the laminations of the furniture and added a few ergonomic designs, such as the stool found by the divider table upon entry at the food joint, for the customers’ comfort.

The Food Truck offers a mix of American and Mexican food and offers four kinds of food menu Tex-Mex Madness, snack menu, Patata Madness, French fries menu, and Cowboy Meals, rice meals. Their main specialty is the Tex-Mex Madness with snacks such as Hand Pulled Burger, Dinamita Jalapeno, Burrito, Nachos and Tacos, to name a few.

Vicencio is currently working on a future project for the Food Truck, details of which were kept from the Varsitarian. It will have the same container van concept as the Food Truck and would be accommodate up to 40 concessionaires.

“We will leave the design of the container van entirely up to the concessioners but I will make a guideline [because] I will also be the one to approve their designs,” she said.


  1. a minor corrections, emy vecencio designed cafe uk mendiola and cafe uk dapitan instead of pancake mendiola and pancake dapita.-joni cabrera Managing Director of , foodtruck manila and cafe uk stores


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