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Wednesday, May 19, 2004

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Family affair

Mr. Donald is a new coffee shop that also brings Conti fare and video games

HERE IS a cosy coffee shop and predominantly Conti eatery targeted at children. Sun signs in blue neon flash from a starry ceiling in an ambience that takes a cue from their favourite nursery rhyme. The menu also packs in preferred French fries, cola, burgers and enticing sizzlers plus a few video games and kiddy rides.

"This is an era when children take parents out. We as a family also go out frequently and our children dote on snacks and I guess the inspiration to open the place came from them," says Nusrath Fatima on Mr. Donald, a franchisee of a New Zealand based bistro recently started here by the husband- wife duo Nusrath and Syed Alghazi Azam. "One of my relatives runs a similar coffee shop in New Zealand in partnership with the local entrepreneur there. We met up with them and decided to bring the idea here. The next issue was how best we could localise the concept. We did a survey and found that parking space and price points are two major criteria that have to be looked into," says Alghazi. Thus, if the ample parking lot here gives you a feel good rush, the tariffs on the card bring another wave of pleasure.

Pick a latte for Rs. 12 here or a chai for Rs. 8. This bistro also offers hot chocolate and slushes, with short eats such as Fish finger and Paneer pakora to snack on and dollops of ice creams for the season. Famished? Then go for a combo. "We ensure that a person gets some filling food to eat for as low as Rs. 20," says Nusrath. So you get a burger for Rs. 20 or a cheese pizza with French fries and coke deal for Rs. 39 not forgetting the D's Happy Meal combos that come with a toy free.

Thai and Hakka soft noodles, rices - chicken fried and lemon rice, Khatti roll and also a Qubani ka meetha are other options to binge on. "It is not common to find Qubani ka metha in a coffee shop but we decide to put the popular Hyderabadi dessert along with doughnuts and home made chocolates here," says Alghazi. Other exotic eats are pizzas with pineapple or chicken sausage toppings, hot dogs and salads whipped up by in house chefs in a jiffy, especially looking at the number of orders coming along.

Barely a few weeks old, Mr. Donald has families from the neighbourhood coming over in flocks. Plans ahead include "adding more space, more spread to the existing 150-item menu and new video games," says Alghazi. Outgoing children are a sure driving force, especially when you have a family business, is a fact that entrepreneurs will surely second.

Mr. Donald (Mekins Maheshwari Plaza, opposite Hotel Green Park, Greenlands, Tel: 55683068, 31031200) is open from 10.30 a.m. to 10.30 p.m.

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