Restaurant & Bar Awards 2022 Page 35 LUX 2022 Restaurant & Bar Awards Kick back and relax at Chloez Cafe, a Fairfax Station based eatery. From breakfasts to mouth-watering dinners, Chloez Cafe offers a wellrounded menu filled with fresh, home-cooked dishes and baked treats. Chloez Cafe Brunch Restaurant of the Year - Virginia Mar22623 Chloez Cafe is a small family owned and operated café based in Fairfax Station, Virginia. The family owned and operated business embodies quality – it remains open seven days a week, supplying delectable home-cooked delights to a diverse range of customers. Moreover, Chloez Cafe specialises in all-day breakfasts, including classic dishes such as omelettes, pancakes and eggs, and, of course, bacon. The café is also home to dinner specials, of which it creates one a night, that have become a hit amongst customers. In essence, Chloez Cafe is a home away from home – it makes meals ‘like Mom would do at home, and we do it right.’ Bright and clean, the female and veteranowned business is infused with a beachy atmosphere, including the best teak furniture. The harmonious ambiance paired with the delicious food has resulted in a thriving cafe, which was described by one customer as, ‘Such a sweet, inviting place. […] The restaurant reminded us so much of our trip to Kauai. It was so homey and we loved seeing the owner interact with the customers.’ Furthermore, its popularity has been bolstered by the freshness of its dishes. Chloez Cafe handpicks the majority of its ingredients, which requires daily shopping in order to obtain the best quality. In addition, the café orders baked goods and breads from local bakeries, as it endeavours to support other small ‘mom & pop’ businesses. It is this that sets it apart from its competition – each of its dishes taste delightful thanks to the freshness of the ingredients it uses. Unlike some cafés, Chloez Cafe attempts to use as few frozen products as possible, as they are simply not up to the Chloez Cafe standard. Treating its staff like people has also been greatly beneficial to the company – it does not pay its team $2.13 per hour, the minimum wage for a server in the U.S., or force them to share tips – it provides them with a real pay cheque and a wage which they can live on. As much of its team are younger people, the owners, Joe and Carolyn Herrera, treat them like they are their own children. The team members learn vital skills such as sweeping, mopping, clearing tables, and cleaning the bathrooms. They’re taught how to host and serve, and even pay taxes. With several professional, full-time servers under its wing, Chloez Cafe is equipped to spend such time training the younger members of its team. In turn, full-time team members are provided with health, dental, and vision insurance. The high staff retention rate can therefore be attributed to these aspects of the company. ‘I honestly think they stay with us because they are treated like people and not a number. They tell us how grateful they are on a daily basis. It’s such a blessing,’ comments Carolyn. Additionally, customer feedback has played a major role in the evolution of the café, as when a customer makes a recommendation, Chloez Cafe takes it to heart. It takes pride in the fact that it is willing to adapt and be flexible, be it with clients’ requests or, simply, the ever-changing industry. One recent example was the Covid-19 pandemic. Chloez Cafe opened six months prior to the beginning of the crisis, and as a result, it was forced to rapidly adapt to the almost weekly changes. Henceforth, greatly influenced by the government shutting down indoor dining, it delved into takeaway options. Thanks to Carolyn’s 35 years of experience in the law world as a legal assistant, she was able to successfully guide the company through applying for COVID assistance and filling out government contracts. Not only did she aid Chloez Cafe, but she also offered her advice to other small businesses. Throughout the pandemic, the company strived to take care of its team – Joe and Carolyn gave up their pay in order to pay their team. The company survived because it worked as a family. As Chloez Cafe recovers from the turbulence, it dreams of its future. Joe hopes to expand Chloez Cafe, opening four or five new locations in other neighbourhoods, creating a place for teenagers to get their first jobs. However, for now, Chloez Cafe plans to continue sponsoring several local sports teams from Little League to Swim and Dive Clubs. Its main priority is its customers – ‘We have so many customers that are Veterans, like my husband, and we treat them with the greatest respect and thank them for their service,’ writes Carolyn. Over the next year, it will continue to provide customers with the excellent service it has become known for. Contact: Carolyn Herrera Company: Chloez Cafe Web Address: