Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Indulge @ Muffin Top Cafe

Published:Thursday | January 28, 2016 | 1:00 AMKrysta Anderson
Co-owner and manager Matthew Thames poses proudly with his creations.
This fruity smoothie will refresh those taste buds of yours.
Savoury chicken panini.
Start your day on a high note with this delicious deli wrap.
The signature Guinness frappucino.
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When biting into a freshly prepared, good old-fashioned muffin, the side effects are not only mouth-watering, but heart-warming too. Today, you can get those same feelings when you indulge at Muffin Top Cafe.

Located in New Kingston, on Dominica Drive on the same property as Knutsford Express, Muffin Top has been satisfying taste buds for close to six years. According to part owner Matthew Thames, the business venture started at home with his brother, Sadiki, who works at Digicel.

After noticing that he and his co-workers were spending too much money on food, he decided to fix his personal financial issues by preparing food from home. Thames recounted his mother often asking Sadiki, "Why don't you put a muffin to top it up?" He consequently tapped into a niche market within the workforce, supplying hearty breakfast and lunch to those at neighbouring entities. And the business Muffin Top Cafe was born.

After overwhelming support and trying to balance a nine-to-five job, they had to close down the cafe. But about six months later, upon seeing the crowd exit the Knutsford Express buses with the open lot behind them, Muffin Top moved out of the kitchen and found their very own home.

Things were looking up, until Digicel relocated to downtown Kingston. "Most of our customers came from Digicel, so when they moved, there was a plunge and we felt it. But based on our product quality and consistency, we have grown by leaps and bounds. We have recently gone into catering for companies such as NCB and JMMB, even for the master's programme at UWI. They all went well, so the response has been good since then," Thames revealed.

He noted that they have also been supported by Knutsford Express customers. "Some of them call in from early just to order in and receive it as they arrive. Because they are foreigners, we try to give them something they're familiar with, something light but filling, with an authentic Jamaican twist."

Their menu includes delicious bagels, omelettes, paninis, wraps and sandwiches, as well as smoothies and frappucinos. He noted that the Guinness and rum cream frappuccino are palate pleasers and are known to be addictive. Following in their footsteps are Oreo and chocolate milk frappucino. Boasting more than nine flavours and counting, they have a record in comparison to other cafes that have only six.

Muffin Top Cafe also prides itself on its customer care service, and always try to get feedback and recommendation. "From ordering to getting your item, the longest wait should be eight minutes," Thames confessed.

His advice to anyone wanting to start their own business in the food industry: "Find a niche, and then put in the work. I could not have done it without my brother: he had the vision, I was just there so he passed it on to me."