(SPOT.ph) It’s been a tough 2020, but the year isn’t done putting us all through the wringer yet. And if you’re an Isko or Iska who spent most of your college life on the University of the Philippines’ Diliman campus, brace yourself for this sad bit of news: The Chocolate Kiss Café will be permanently closed starting on August 24.
"The Café has always relied on high volume in sustaining its operations. The losses already incurred since the start of ECQ, and the prospect of not being able to operate at full capacity for an indeterminable period, has led to this difficult decision," said a press release by owner Ina Flores Pahati, daughter of co-founder Maline Flores.
The Chocolate Kiss Café’s first branch opened in September 1997 on the second floor of Ang Bahay ng Alumni, then one of the newest buildings on campus. It quickly became a regular haunt for many of the university’s students and faculty, its interiors perfectly combining the coziness of a proper café with the approachability of straightforward, black Monobloc chairs—it was the place to go if you wanted to ask a Comm 1 groupmate to lunch at a place that was a bit more elevated than CASAA, without having to venture all the way to Katipunan.
"My mom and aunt, founders of the Café and both UP alumni, decided to take the leap with their home-based cake business with the humble intention of giving the UP community a new dining experience, and an alternative to college canteens," shared Pahati. "We didn’t know our lives would be changed when my family opened The Chocolate Kiss Café. I was a grade-schooler then, and the year was 1997. From going home directly after school (or work, for my elder sister), our family suddenly had this point of convergence, an unplanned extension of our home."
Ask any UP Diliman alumnus from the early 2000s and you’re likely to get a list of favorites: the Chicken and Pork Adobo Flakes, the Chicken Kiev, the Devil’s Food Cake, the Carrot Cake—which is on our list of the best you can find in Manila. Besides the food, the bottomless iced tea was always a draw. The café became so popular, they opened a second branch on the ground floor and in 2016, they opened their first mall location at UP Town Center.
According to Pahati, The Chocolate Kiss Café's kitchen will continue to cook menu favorites for pick-up from their Fairview commissary until August 23. After that, they will be limiting the menu to cakes, which can be ordered through the Chocolate Kiss website.
"'Sharing the good stuff' with customers was only possible because of the talented team behind Chocolate Kiss," said Pahati. "They are the ones who prepared the Chicken Kiev and Hickory Smoked Spareribs, who served your slice of cake and refilled your Bottomless Iced Tea. This is truly the hardest part—parting ways with the people whom we’ve shared the most experiences with."
For more information, check out The Chocolate Kiss Café's website.