Haitian Baker Makes Poppin' Fresh New Life in SoFla

Christina Marzouka makes homebaked treats in honor of her homeland

Christina Marzouka remembers how it was growing up in Haiti. Her family slept comfortably with open doors and awoke to a roosters’ cock-a-doodle-doo on weekend mornings.

But the 2000 presidential elections marked an end to all those memories. Jean-Bertrand Aristide rose to power and everything began to change.

“People were being kidnapped when Aristide got into power. I remember living every day wondering when your next day will be.”

After living in fear for over five years, she decided to move to South Florida to start a new life, and, just five months later, she opened Morning Call.

Morning Call, Marzouka’s European-style café, serves a wide variety of made-to-order dishes and pastries. In Haiti, her family owned the well-known, five-story Caribbean Supermarket. But unfortunately, the Haitian earthquake earlier this year left the building in rubble.

The news of its collapse devastated Marzouka. She worked there for most of her life.

“I don’t think I can ever go back there and look at it. It’s traumatizing enough to wonder who made it out alive or not. [The earthquake] was a nightmare for all Haitian citizens and for people around the world.”

Marzouka’s experience working at her family’s supermarket allowed her to gain practice with customer service. And one day she was walking down a South Miami street she noticed a bakery that was for sale.

“I just envisioned it. I saw my café, how I wanted it to look”, she explained. “In Haiti, I grew up around food and family. I love to cook and I love to feed people. I knew I had to do it.”

Morning Call is known for its freshly made dishes, preservative-free hummus, and excellent customer service. The café prides itself on focusing on the quality of their product and the experience customers receive when in the shop.

“I’m very picky with my food. I eat there every day, so it better be good.”

Marzouka prepares the dishes her café serves and has a pastry chef for eveything else. Some of the place’s top sellers are the chicken salad sandwich, the Asian chicken salad, and their veggie hummus wrap. And when it comes to pastries, no one can decline their homemade brownies and mini cookies.

“Everyone wants to know our recipe, but obviously we won’t give it to them. I would really say that I have a fan club.”

Marzouka plans on starting a fundraising effort that will raise money for her native country.

She also wishes to expand her business in the future.

“I want to open [a shop] on the beach. I really think they need one there. I was working there for about a month and I saw people leaving a lot of places. It was very disappointing. I don’t like it when people rush to open new places and forget about the quality. My customers would definitely notice if I change just one thing.”

Morning Call is open Monday through Saturday 7:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. The café offers free WiFi and hosts Turkish coffee readings on Fridays and Tea Leaf readings from time to time.

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