Maria Lowedeth Lumauag is carrying on her mother’s entrepreneurial spirit with today’s opening of Maria’s Café across Kentucky Fried Chicken in Chalan Kanoa.
The 23-year-old Northern Marianas College student said her mother, Editha, used to have a beauty parlor and a barbecue stand and the opening of their snack bar today only continues the family’s desire to run their own business.
“Our family has always been entrepreneurial and we’ve always been interested in opening a snack bar. My mom, Editha, actually opened a few businesses before, like a beauty parlor and a barbecue stand. Then we decided we should probably just hold off and save some money and open up something big,” she said.
Not even the COVID-19 pandemic has stopped them from their lifelong dream of opening and running a snack bar.
“During the pandemic we noticed everyone’s so interested in buying food. Everyone is bored cause there’s nothing much to do here and people want to spend their money on something new,” Lumauag said.
Good thing Maria’s Café has a couple of new items Saipan foodies would be interested in. One such snack is elotés, which, according to seriouseats.com, is a classic Mexican street food made from corn on the cob that is charred on the grill, then slathered in a spicy and creamy chili-, garlic-, and Cotija cheese-spiked sauce.
“But we’re doing a fusion because we’re catering to the local palate so we put Flaming Hot Cheetos and Cheesy Cheetos on our version of elotés,” said Lumauag.
Aside from the famed Mexican street food, Maria’s Café also has other new snacks like Hurricane Popcorn (Hawaiian-style popcorn), Deconstructed Halo-Halo, Baconator Fries, Premium Grilled Cheese (made from cream cheese, mozzarella, and cheddar), and three types of waffles (chocolate chip, ube, and regular waffles). For drinks, Lumauag said they have cold and hot drinks and matcha and green tea boba.
“Maria’s Café offers a different twist on regular snacks. I’m a foodie myself and I know people always want to try something new. I’m just afraid people won’t like it but you really can’t please everybody,” she said.
As to why the snack bar is named Maria’s Café, Lumauag said she and her two other sisters are all named Maria, with the other two named Maria Loued Jane and Maria Loidalyn. Their brother, Lowell Jr., also helps out in the snack bar.
Another thing working for Maria’s Café is its location. Being a stone’s throw away from Mount Carmel Church and Mount Carmel School is always a good start.
“We’re trying to target students from Mount Carmel, Hopwood Middle School, William S. Reyes Elementary School, and Saipan Community School. This part of Beach Road is just a very busy street so we’re lucky and pinning our hopes that this would give us good traffic,” Lumauag said.
As an introductory promotion, Maria’s Café will be offering free lemonade for every $10 spent on the snack bar. There will also be an ongoing raffle that will give customers a chance to win daily prizes like T-shirts, caps, and perfume.
Maria’s Café is located beside CK Internet & Computer Shop in Chalan Kanoa and is open Monday-Saturday from 7am to 9pm. It can seat 20 customers under the guidelines set by the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force. For more information, call 285-9474 or 284-6043. You can also reach them through their social media accounts under the “Maria’s Café 670” handle on Facebook and Instagram.