Shawarma station success

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Friday, June 20, 2014

IF YOU'RE on Facebook or Instagram, chances are you’ve seen people raving about Jafar’s Shawarma Station. The kiosk serving wraps and shawarma rice has been open for barely two months, but has already started to gain a following.

Proprietor Alfonso “Fonso” Martinez came up with all the recipes himself. He admits he’s always been into food, and he’s always loved a good shawarma. He considers wraps a comfort food, and something that he eats on his travels, from Hong Kong to Australia to Spain.

For the wraps or rice, there are five different choices of fillings: chicken, chickpeas, homemade chorizo, minced beef and the best-selling Angus beef. For additional fillings, just add P40. The wraps, made from homemade dough, start at P79, and shawarma rice starts at P89.


Fonso clarifies that he isn’t trying to make an “authentic” shawarma, but something that’s his own. He started with chicken tikka masala, one of his favorite things to cook, and thought it would be good to make into a wrap, and the ideas went on from there. When he first opened Jafar’s, Fonso would get up at 4 a.m., cook and make other preparations, work at the kiosk all day, then sleep at 11 pm. As the business grew, he hired staff to help out, and soon he’ll be running his own commissary.

Sometimes, one person might have 10 orders, so expect a line during peak hours at the kiosk. With the pager system, a customer can carry a disk with them while perhaps running errands or having coffee in the vicinity, and simply return when the disk buzzes and signals that an order is ready for pickup.

“I’m not a chef or restaurateur,” says Fonso of his venture. “But I like good food, and I like feeding people.” It’s a simple but genuine concept that works, attracting repeat customers not just among Fonso’s friends, but also other people he hasn’t met.

Jafar’s is located near the entrance to the groceries at Banilad Town Center. It is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays, and up to 12 midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. It will soon open in Rustan’s supermarket at the new wing of Ayala Center Cebu.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 21, 2014.


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