From humble beginnings.
When a storyteller opens a restaurant, you’re bound to get a good ending. Once upon a time circa 1995, I tried to eat lunch by myself at the Country Kitchen restaurant in Nyaniba Estate. It was a popular place for workers and lunch dates. I had returned from England the year before and thought nothing of sitting by myself and enjoying a good jollof. I worked just up the road from the place and my boss smirked a little when I told her I was going for lunch.
“Meeting someone?” She was being nosy.
“No,” I responded. That’s when she smirked.
The waiter approached me with a quizzical look on his face, I asked for the menu and he asked if I was alone. I looked around just in case someone had joined me without my knowing. He handed me the menu and then came back to take my order. I wondered if there was something wrong, he looked at me in a weird way. It didn’t take long for me to realise that I was being stared at and that I was the only person in the bustling restaurant sitting by myself. I was determined to stay, but with no Facebook to keep me looking busy and no calls to make me give the impression that I had tons of friends, I gave up my independence and asked for my meal to be packed into a takeaway.
But they say that great business ideas usually stem from problems. This was a problem for me.
The fact that I could not dine by myself without feeling uncomfortable. I began to think about opening a café, something cosy and comfortable with tasty food and great music. A place that would become a haven, a spot where you came to get away from the world and its problems. That place became Josie’s Cuppa Cappuccino.
Some interesting things have happened since then. Wole Soyinka, the African Nobel Laureate came for lunch and Christiane Amanpour had her best coffee in Accra with us. Proposals and first dates and lots of what we call Cappuccino Babies arrived. Cuppa Cappuccino was where their expectant moms arrived every morning looking for their favourite sandwich.
Its twenty-two years now and it’s been a journey and a half, with challenges, highs and lows. When we were listed by Ventures Africa as a ‘leading café in Africa’, it was a big source of pride and validation for us. I tell young folk all the time that nothing good comes easy and God’s grace makes what seems impossible, so very possible.