by Hannah Middaugh
Tucked into a small corner of the road in downtown lies a Mexican restaurant called Veroni Café. Owned and run by Monica Giovanna and her sister, Veroni Café has been in Downtown Chambersburg for four years. Giovanna and her sister opened the café on July 25th, 2016. Giovanna mentioned that Veroni Café got its start at a farmer’s market, and when they saw the space available, they jumped on the chance to open a physical location.
Giovanna stated, "It's right around the corner. Sometimes it’s hard to notice it, but we’ve been promoting a lot more on social media and we’ve found that it has been helping a lot.”
The recipes they have at Veroni Café are from their parents and grandparents. “It’s what we grew up on,” Giovanna commented.
“My dad had a small business back home in Oregon, so when we got here, we wanted to start something. So, we went to the farmer’s market.”
Giovanna said that people liked what they brought to the farmer’s market, but it was too spicy for them, so they took the spiciness out of the food and adapted to it.
Giovanna and her sister were taught to cook by their mother who was taught by her mother. “Sometimes we’ll play with the menu and create something different,” commented Giovanna.
When people go to Veroni Café, they go for fajitas, tacos, steak tips, and enchilada mixtas. “We make everything here fresh in the morning. That’s what makes a big difference,” Giovanna mentioned.
Giovanna stated that their tilapia tacos are her favorite dishes at the café because they make their own dressing. Another one of Giovanna’s favorite dishes is their burrito loco which is a large burrito with everything inside of it.
Giovanna recommends the enchiladas mixtas or the carne asada burrito for a first visit to the café. Occasionally Veroni Café offers specials like tilapia and shrimp.
After shutting down for the entire month of April 2020, Veroni Café opened back up on Cinco De Mayo, or May 5th, 2020. “It was a crazy idea, but it went well. We put some table and chairs out in the alley and people seemed to like it,” said Giovanna.
When Covid hit, the sisters had to make a smaller menu because they had to go to take-out only, and although it is just Giovanna and her sister, they are trying to stay positive and find different ways to work.
When it comes to posting on social media, Veroni Café tries to make posts in the morning every day. Giovanna commented, “We used to do the paid promotions, but we don’t do that anymore. We make a post and people share it.”
Veroni Café’s logo has a special meaning. Adding the “C” and “A” from “Cafe” to “Veroni” spells Veronica while the “Fe” means “Faith” in Spanish.
“The whole idea came from us building from my mom and grandmother’s recipes, so we had the idea for Veroni,” stated Giovanna, “And grandpa wanted to be a bullfighter in Mexico City, so that’s why there’s a bullfighter on the logo along with the five stars which is the rating people gave us at the farmer’s market.”
Some of Veroni Café's projects to expand include a food truck. “We just got to play it by ear now,” stated Giovanna.
They are also planning on updating the alley beside the café to make it more welcoming.
Giovanna also mentioned that they are selling their homemade salsa at The Butcher Shop and at Sunway.
When asked about Wilson College students coming into the café, Giovanna said that the Muhibbah Club used to come in occasionally for a trip. Giovanna also mentioned that they used to cater an event for Wilson College.
Giovanna is very open to having more Wilson students stopping in to enjoy the food.
Veroni Café are active on Facebook and Instagram. People can also order food online which makes things easier with Covid-19 along with curbside pick-up. They are open Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.