Coffee and chill: The Neighborhood Cafe

Christian Jay B. Quilo

CEBU’S cafe scene is a thriving one and there’s no shortage of places to hang out and unwind in the city. But these days, it takes more than just great food and drinks to stand out. Here comes The Neighborhood Cafe, a humble no-frills hidden gem of a cafe tucked away in a quiet residential area in Banawa—concrete proof that there is power in sticking to your roots.

The cafe is owned by two coffee aficionados, Mark Kevin Uy and Dean Yap. Mark is solely in-charge of cafe operations while his wife Joanna handles the back-end of operations like purchasing and commissary. It opened just last Sept. 20. Sure, hangout places are aplenty in the city but what sets The Neighborhood Cafe apart is its humility and sincerity as a modest homegrown business.

“The cafe aims to get the neighborhood together and foster a positive relationship among its members through good food and better coffee. It’s a place where neighbors can stay and chat, and for people to slow down a bit from the daily hustle and bustle,” explained Joanna.

Some of the bestsellers are the Angus Tapa and Chorizo Rice Bowls, and Cheeseburger. Aside from the heavier options on the menu, the cafe also offers equally good light bites like the Empanada and Egg Tarts.

The Neighborhood Cafe prides itself with almost everything on its menu made right in its own kitchen such as the Angus Beef Tapa, Sisig, and majority of its baked goods like the cookies and even the breads used for the sandwiches. For beverages, the Cold White Brew (which comes in many fun different flavors such as Caramelight and Buttery & Nutty) and Iced Caramel Macchiato are perfect for those who want a caffeine fix. The cafe partnered with the esteemed local roaster Linear Coffee Roasters, as the proprietors believed they shared the same ideas and vision. The Strawberry-Banana Milkshake and Raspberry & Cucumber-flavored Italian Soda are also hits among non-coffee drinkers.

More than just the great food and drink offerings, the cafe’s ambiance emanates a refreshing sense of homeyness and familiarity that many of its more commercialized and mainstream counterparts lack. This gives its customers an undeniably genuine sense of comfort, accompanied with the hearty home-cooked meals and good coffee.

Since the cafe is still on its soft opening, customers can expect new items to be added soon on the menu such as more sandwiches and pastas, as well as earlier hours on weekdays.

The Neighborhood Cafe is located on Fortich St., Banawa, Cebu City. Store hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends.