LAST DRINKS: Chat Room barista Laura Ross delivers two coffees to Karen Abrahams from Department of Youth Justice, one for her and one paid forward back in August. The cafe closed yesterday due to financial reasons.
LAST DRINKS: Chat Room barista Laura Ross delivers two coffees to Karen Abrahams from Department of Youth Justice, one for her and one paid forward back in August. The cafe closed yesterday due to financial reasons. Chris Ison Rokcchatroom

Silence falls on Chat Room Cafe as doors close on venture

FINAL cups of coffee have been brewed and the last crumbs of cake gobbled up at Margaret Strelow's Chat Room Cafe.

The popular venue, which opened on the corner of Bolsover and Stanley Sts in May last year, closed its doors for the last time at 2pm yesterday.

In a statement posted to Facebook yesterday morning, cafe director Margaret Strelow regretfully let loyal customers know chatter was over at the eatery.

"The cafe was never intended to run at a profit but there is a limit to our personal capacity to sustain the losses too," said Mrs Strelow, who is also Mayor of Rockhampton.

"We were at a decision point for a number of reasons and decided to act quickly to ensure we could pay our suppliers and staff without delay."

The cafe catered for the entire public; from those in need of a cheap meal or free coffee, to people looking for a healthier lunch option.

A popular incentive of the cafe was the Suspended Coffee system which involved customers "paying forward" tokens for food or coffee that could be redeemed by those in need at a later date.

Mrs Strelow said she was very proud of what the cafe achieved in its time of operation and especially that it had proved the nay-sayers wrong.

"The cafe did a lot of good during the 18 months it was open and I sincerely thank the many loyal supporters and our regular customers," she said.

"We served great food and good coffee to our paying customers so that we could serve free meals to those in need.

"I would also like to thank our amazing staff and managers Allan and Wes. And a huge thank you to Mike, our chef.

"The predictions by my political opponents that there would be horror and mayhem on the streets because of our dignified service to the needy were proven wrong.

"The last reports I heard from the police were that crime in the area had actually reduced."

As for what's next for the Chat Room Cafe, Mrs Strelow said only time would tell.

"We are not sure what the future will bring - the story of the Chat Room Cafe may not be over but this chapter of it is done."



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