In recent days I have found that I frequent the Harare/Bulawayo route often. Most of the time I will be using public transport which has its ups and downs ( but that’s a story for another day). One of the biggest let downs is the eating places the buses often choose to stop at. They offer extremely poor services, very little to no variety and as I heard recently from a disgruntled traveler, the bathrooms are far from clean!
Today I had the opportunity to drive along the Bulawayo/Harare Road and made it a point to stop at a place I always see while on the bus but have never had the opportunity to try out. The Food Deli located on the Main Street in Kwekwe is easily accessible off the Bulawayo/Harare Road. Naturally being a small town, finding parking can prove to be a hustle but the enthusiastic airtime vendors are always there to assist with finding a spot; at a price though!
At first glance Ripperz is not the type of place you would expect to find in a smaller town like Kwekwe. It is well positioned, the signage is great and it’s inviting as well. Upon entering, the food deli is divided into three sections; a coffee bar, a small food mart where you can get light groceries and baked goods, as well as a sit down cafe.
First stop the sit down food deli. I was hoping to order a light sandwich or wrap I could have to go. The menu was quite uninspiring and had more of a fast food feel rather than a fresh food deli feel. Another surprising factor was the price point of the burgers and chips, quarter fried chicken and chips options. It was quite steep in comparison to other food outlets found just meters away from the deli. It was no wonder that although I passed through at around 10am (a time when people are grabbing late breakfasts or are on tea breaks) there was only one customer sitting and having a meal.
After failing to find a healthy and appetizing option I opted to try out the coffee bar. I ordered a cappuccino which to my horror was $3 for a tiny cup! Admittedly i am a penny pincher however psychologically I expect things to get cheaper as the town gets smaller. What I would pay for coffee in Harare is not what I expect to pay for coffee in Bulawayo and certainly not the expectation with small Kwekwe. However I stand corrected! The cappuccino was nothing out of this world, neither was it horrible.
The sit in breakfast option seemed a better idea however I didn’t have time to sit and wait for eggs, bacon and toast to be prepared. While I was waiting to be served I decided to play tourist and take pictures of the place! I was quickly tapped on the shoulder by an unfriendly Fawcett security guard and was told I was not permitted to take pictures. This was highly unnecessary. On the way out of the deli after paying for my coffee the same security guard insisted on stopping me to check my receipt! (Are we at the down town grocery store?) this added security feature may prove a turn off to anyone that doesn’t like to be frisked on their way out of any shop.
My final thoughts of Ripperz? It is definitely a clean option if one chooses to stop in Kwekwe. The bathrooms are satisfactory and if you are not a picky eater the fast food options can be tolerable as well. The general service is slow like any other place in Zimbabwe. There is plenty false advertising. What you see in the pictures is definitely not what you will get on your plate. What was bizarre was the boxes of Johnnie Walker displayed at the coffee bar. I wouldn’t walk into a Starbucks or a Mugg & Bean and expect to find alcohol on display. The owner of the store was present during my time there and seemed oblivious of the different customers that kept walking in, asking one question and quickly stepping out.
Perhaps I raised my hopes too high for this place but overall I would give it two stars. There is a need to review their menu options, as well as an urgent improvement in customer service. With where the deli is situated and the traffic that goes through there, an efficient take away system for breakfast foods could be another option to consider!
Check out Ripperz the next time you drive through Kwekwe, let me know what you think! I would
Iove to get a second opinion on the place!