Curtain rises on Baxter Restaurant

Baxter Restaurant staff, from left, Nicholas Mwalubemba, Evie Muzondo and Tracey-Leigh Cairns.

A man who used to work as an usher at the Baxter theatre in the early 1990s is now running its restaurant.

These days, instead of showing theatre visitors to their seats, Jason Volckaert, 47, and his staff tempt them with a wide range of tasty treats at the restaurant, which reopened at the beginning of last month.

Mr Volckaert ran the Cocoa Wah Wah restaurants on the Foreshore and in Rondebosch, Kloof Street and Observatory until the pandemic hit.

“We had to close all the restaurants except the Observatory restaurant,” he said.

But many of the old Cocoa Wah Wah favourites – the cakes, salads, burgers and milkshakes – continue to live on at the Baxter Restaurant. And staff from the closed Cocoa Wah Wah restaurants have also found a home there, including the restaurant’s general manager, Mambwe Chuba, 35, who is originally from Lusaka in Zambia.

Fahiem Stellenboom, the Baxter’s marketing manager, said Covid-19 had hit eateries hard and the previous manager of the restaurant had opted not to reopen.

Tracey-Leigh Cairns, 27, from Manenberg, who worked at Cocoa Wah Wah in Rondebosch for six years, is now the Baxter Restaurant’s day-shift manager.

“It’s good to be back working, as last year during Covid-19 I did not work for three months, though we did receive some support from the Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) payments.”

Visit to have a look at the restaurant’s menu. To book, contact Mr Chuba at 064 777 4899 or

The Baxter Restaurant’s barista, Learnmore Gandah, and general manager, Mambwe Chuba, standing by the cake display.