Issue of June 22, 2014

62nd Courier Anniversary Issue
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Famous landmark to close shop after 74 years of operation
by Rimaliza A. Opiña

A Baguio landmark, which has seen the city’s transformation from a quaint town to a bustling urban hub will be closing shop, after 74 years of existence.

On July 8, Star Café will be closing its doors to patrons who remained loyal despite the increasing number of competitors in the food business.

While not totally opposed to the idea of allowing someone else to manage the restaurant, Donna Rufino, widow of Star Café owner Joey, said she and her children have decided that for now, the restaurant has to close.

Joey succumbed to a lingering illness on Dec. 18, 2013.

The more than 20 employees, some of whom have worked for them for the past 30 years, have been informed of the closure. 

At 69, Donna said she no longer has the energy to keep the business running. Her children on the other hand, are living abroad and are practicing their respective professions. Also, none of her husband’s six siblings could attend to the business because everyone is now living in Canada.

“I want to live my life now and do the things I want to do,” Rufino said.

Asked about the financial status of the restaurant, she said the business managed to survive, but admitted earnings has not been as good as when her husband has been actively managing the restaurant.

Rufino said a local businessman has signified interest in reviving Star Café but she has not decided on what to do next. If she decides, she said she wants the next managers to have the heart in maintaining what was built by the builders of the restaurant.

Star Café was established in 1940 by Rufino patriarch, Goo Chin. The first outlet was located at where Jollibee-Calderon Street is presently located. In 1955, it transferred to Session Road, across where the first McDonalds (which also recently closed) is located and in 1991 transferred to its present location also at Session Road.

Star Café is famous for its Chinese cuisine such as pancit, pancit canton, lumpiang shanghai, egg foo yong, camaron jon hamon, for its breads like cinnamon buns, pan de sal, pan de Vienna, and egg pie.

Having been able to survive decades of operations, Star Café is one of the pioneer awardees of Go Negosyo by businessman Joey Concepcion. During Baguio’s centennial in 2009, it was also awarded the “Builder of Baguio” award.

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