Mayor's Chat Room Cafe opens doors for first time

COMMUNITY CARE: From left, Jessica Gnawn, Brett Wilson, Chris Ganter, and Richard, Kathryn and Jonah Carpenter from the Rockhampton Baptist Church enjoy their meals at the newly opened Chat Room Café which also helps those in need.
COMMUNITY CARE: From left, Jessica Gnawn, Brett Wilson, Chris Ganter, and Richard, Kathryn and Jonah Carpenter from the Rockhampton Baptist Church enjoy their meals at the newly opened Chat Room Café which also helps those in need. Allan Reinikka Rokachatroo

AS Allan Kemp opened the doors at the Chat Room Cafe for the first time yesterday morning, a line of about 20 people were waiting.

But it wasn't those most in need of support in the Rockhampton community who were the main customers on the first day of business.

Allan said members of church groups and Aurizon staff kept him rolling along.

The cafe, on the corner of Bolsover and Stanley Sts, was filled with the aromas of freshly ground coffee beans with the community lunch on offer for the day a tasty beef stroganoff with mashed potato offered at $4 a plate.

Allan said the business welcomed the general public, as well as offering the city's needy a cheap meal or free coffee.

"It's been steady all day, but it's good to finally see it happen," Allan said.

"We've had a lot of people put money towards the Suspended Coffee System but no recipients yet."

The Suspended Coffee system involves buying tokens for food or coffee that can be redeemed by those in need at a later date.

The cafe has been a controversial project over the past few years and was the dream of Mayor Margaret StrelowMayor's  who owns the business.

Allan said locals in the area and also industrial workers had been in to visit the new space, but he hadn't served anybody yet who was homeless or financially struggling.

Customer Brett Wilson said the hang out had great food and friendly staff.

"I think every business in this industry should do something like this and set aside a way to help people."

Topics:  chat room cafe margaret strelow needy small business suspended coffee

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