New ethnic cafe the first of its kind in region
JHONA Leonard loves to eat out but found there was one cuisine Rockhampton didn’t have – Filipino.
“Name every restaurant in Rocky, I have been there,” she said.
As a Philippines-born woman, Jhona was missing eating her home country’s food.
“I love going to Filipino gatherings because I get to taste the food,” she said.
“Due to work you are already tired, you don’t have time to cook, you just want to get takeaway.”
Despite working full-time as a nurse, Jhona made the move to fill the gap in the market and open her own cafe.
Filipino Cafeteria opened in Berserker St, in February this year.
At first, Jhona said the business was very popular and was open from 5am to 10pm, but as the COVID-19 pandemic took a strong hold and they could only offer takeaways, it took a hit.
The business went down by 50 to 40 per cent but in recent weeks has been picking back up.
The extensive menu features Filipino cuisine using authentic Filipino spices.
The business’ signature dish is the roast on the spit and another popular item is spring rolls.
Jhona moved to Rockhampton in 2015 and had only met a handful of other Filipinos.
Since opening the shop, she has learnt there is more than 3000 Filipinos in the community.
She has made many friends and found people who grew up not far from her in the Philippines.
Word of mouth about the good food at the cafe has spread and customers from as far as Biloela, Gladstone, Emerald and Mackay have visited.
Before moving to Rockhampton, Jhona was in Emerald where she had an Asian grocery shop.
This was successful, but she decided to close to study nursing.
She is looking to open a bigger store in the near future, which would include a bar and restaurant along with an Asian groceries offering.
185A Berserker St, Berserker.
Authentic Filipino recipes with spit roast and spices
All you can buffet available lunch and dinner
Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm