THE JAPANESE roadside vendor who caused a sensation among Cebu IT Park workers about a year ago is now a restaurant owner.
Go Morita used to sell onigiri (Japanese rice balls) and tonkatsu (deep-fried meat cutlets) sandwiches from Monday to Saturday just before noon on a particular spot along Salinas Drive in Lahug.
Last October, he decided to give up his orange food baskets and make his dream of setting up his own place a reality.
A nice little shop tucked in a residential area, Go Go Café is located at JDN Square on P. Remedio St. Banilad Mandaue City, Cebu.
A far cry from his pedestrian beginnings, today Go serves his signature onigiri and tonkatsu sandwiches including other offerings like the Shoyu Ramen and a variety of hot and cold beverages in anair-conditioned setting with cozy seating.
Go Go Café serves brewed coffee, frappés and drinks to go with chocolate or cream cheesecakes. Hungry diners can also partake of full meals.
“I want my customers to be comfortable here. They can order coffee and when they get hungry they can also have their full meals here and continue what they are doing,” said Go.
“I have always imagined my cafe to be peaceful, and this is just right for me. It’s like a secret place, very safe.”
A native of Osaka, Japan, 30-year-old Go has a master’s degree in business administration from Hosei University Graduate School and has traveled to China, Malaysia and Cambodia.
According to Go, he is bent on succeeding in the venture even if it means relegating his love life to the back seat.
“I spend most of my time in the cafe because I want to personally greet my customers and interact with them. I don’t have a day off. And I always wear my Go Go Cafe T-shirt so people will remember me as the Go Go Man,” he said.
Although a staff of four helps him manage the place, Go personally “controls” the kitchen to ensure consistent food quality.
“I want to make sure that when they taste my food, they will come back for more,” he said.
It’s nice to be able to sit down and really enjoy the food here. The servings are now bigger and Go has improved the taste of his tonkatsu and the ramen “to match the cafe’s classy ambience.”
The sandwiches, priced at P130, has fried pork cutlets, cabbage, secret tonkatsu sauce and toasted bread.
Other bestsellers are the egg sandwich (P130), the Shoyu Ramen (P220) and rice meals like sauce tonkatsu bowl (P200) and the Japanese curry rice (P190).
Customers can choose from a wide range of refreshments and desserts like the Kuromitsu Goma ice cream that has Japanese sweet sauce, black sesame seeds, kinako powder and vanilla-flavored ice cream in it.
“This is my dream, and I will do my best,” said Go. “It’s like learning the English language—no matter how hard, I know I can do it.”
Go Go Cafe is open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.