The reason why Junction Café is more than just a chill place to hang-out is that it represents an initiative of four young men, each leading a different life but together running this quirky little café in Manbhawan, Lalitpur. Atypical to other twenty-something college kids, Sajan, Anish, Susan and Binay have started a business, and a successful one at that. Running Junction Café this all on their own the guys exchange the roles of the cook, waiter, cashier and delivery among themselves. With limited prospects of landing their dream job in Nepal’s difficult job market, the four friends didn’t want to wait for the world to come to them. Instead they took the bold move to jump straight out into the world.
While larger, fancier restaurants were mushrooming all over Kathmandu, Junction café started off with one shutter. Yet it soon grew into a more spacious café with a kitchen out the back, making the guys the proud owners of an established and popular eatery. This is expansion was facilitated by the gutsy decision to take out a loan from a finance company. They really did then take control of their own future.
Such motivation to do their own thing stemmed from the instability and weaknesses in the current job market. A government job, explained the waiter of the day, will not go far without corruption and a job in a private sector is unfulfilling as it is a platform for rich to get richer and poor to get poorer. With the growing competition in the market, these four decided that they had to make place for themselves on their own. Instead of shoving and struggling, we find the owners quite relaxed, moving about with the sureness and enthusiasm of young business people and efficiency of old timers.
Upon entering the café you are greeted with a warm self designed interior which pulsates with love, enthusiasm and warm vibes. The menu is simple and the owners, friendly. People frequent this place for the ambience and its food. Over all, these guys have done a great job!
Outside of café life, each of the owners have different pursuits that you wouldn’t normally think correlate with that of a restauranter. Sajan Shrestha, who handles the counter and customer service is a computer enthusiast and fixes computers as a hobby. Anish Nepali, who is responsible for the cooking, is a momo specialist and a former A-division footballer for Brigade Boys Club. On the other hand, Susan Kapali, who is actually a priest (wow!), handles the delivery. Finally, Binay Nakarmi who is there for customer’s service also works at a bank as a junior assistant. They are hopeful of expanding the café and dream of running a chain of restaurants in the future.
Theirs is a simple yet inspiring story which reminds one of the saying ‘little things are little things but having faith in little things is no little thing.’ I hope the spirit that they hold now, takes them far in life. I also hope their initiative strikes a chord among the youths here: to get off that couch, get some friends, start a restaurant, start a band, start a book club, whatever it takes to make that something little bit extra special of your life.