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Austin 1954 Café: a food truck café inspiring youth in Kandy

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By Shamseer Jaleel

Something new, a special something not to be missed, is now opened in Kandy, unusual to the normal food truck cafés around the country.

Tourist enjoying at the  Cafe

The Austin 1954 food truck café was initiated by Ishika Ratwatte, a student of CIS Kandy, taking the 1954 model Austin Loadstar truck as the backbone of the Café. This café is run by five students: Ishika, Shehara, Udara, Kevin, and Joshua, who have completed their Advanced Level Examinations and are awaiting University entrance in 2020.

Speaking to Daily FT, Ishika Ratwatte said: “This whole idea began when my father discovered this truck and wanted to restore it to a vintage-style food truck, to be parked at their Home Stay. When it was completed, I got this idea to have it parked in the city, using minimum plastic. Fortunately we were given an opportunity by the former Governor of Kandy Maithree Gunarathne, and Sangeeth Akkarawatthe of KCC, to participate at the Kandy Food Fest in July 2019. Thereafter, my parents supported me in finding the spot at Peradeniya Road for the truck to be parked. Customers can also dine here too. Having my batch mates to operate the truck was my idea. We are all waiting to enrol in higher studies. Perhaps students running a café is a first time in Kandy. This experience gives us an opportunity to face the real world when we have to face situations, overcome them in good or bad times when dealing with people. An experience to program ourselves to see the world with confidence, rather than marking time at home for six months.” 

She also stated that they believe working and studying allows them to balance their work and life when they go overseas, or when they gain employment locally. It’s also a method to help them fight stress at a low level, and enjoy what they do.  Her idea is to train new school-leavers to take over, so that it will continue to operate and inspire the youth before they enrol themselves in higher studies.

This café is situated on 474, Old Peradeniya Road next to Regal Cinema, Kandy. Follow them on Instagram at @Austin1954

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