The stars aligned for new owners of Honey and Dora Lifestyle Restaurant and Bar

Antonio Van Der Poel Jonkers and Cary-Lee Jonkers. Picture: Supplied

Antonio Van Der Poel Jonkers and Cary-Lee Jonkers. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 29, 2024


Cape Town - A childhood passion turned into a booming career for a former Bonteheuwel resident, Cary-Lee Jonkers. He and his husband, Antonio Van Der Poel Jonkers, have become the new owners of the Honey and Dora Lifestyle Restaurant and Bar in Cape Town.

Cary-Lee, 30, was raised in a three-bedroom home in Bonteheuwel where he lived with 10 family members.

The entrepreneurial bug bit when he was just 13 and he started selling popcorn after school from his home.

“Typical of many households on the Cape Flats, our home was bustling with life, including my granny, her children, and their children. Despite the strong sense of family, I faced numerous challenges shaped by the socio-economic conditions of our community.

“Many of my friends succumbed to drug addiction and gangsterism, and, sadly, many have since passed away. As a young, gay man from a poor background, life on the Cape Flats was particularly tough.

“From a young age, I developed a hustler’s spirit. At just 13, I started selling popcorn. After school, I would package packets of icing sugar or salt and sell them in front of my house for 50c each, saving up for pocket money to buy sweets or go out with friends. This popcorn business sustained me throughout my school years.”

Antonio Van Der Poel Jonkers(left) and Cary-Lee Jonkers( right). Picture: Supplied

After matric, Cary-Lee and his best friend started a small gatsby business in his yard selling hot chips and gatsby delights.

“My dad, Trevor Jonkers, frequently

bailed us out, helping us restock supplies. My breakthrough came when I met Mr Julian Swain, who believed I had a knack for sales. He secured me a sales role at Old Mutual, despite my lack of experience.

“After a year at Old Mutual, I joined Sanlam, where I climbed the corporate ladder through various leadership roles in the sales department. With this experience, I decided to start my own insurance firm. Partnering with Sanlam, I now employ over 100 staff members.

“My mission has been to uplift people with backgrounds similar to mine. Consequently, 90% of my staff are from the Cape Flats, many from the LGBT community. I aim to show them that a better life and equal opportunities exist beyond their immediate surroundings.”

Cary-Lee was dealt a heavy blow when he lost his mother in 2016 to cancer. “With support from my dad and aunts, I navigated this trauma, using it as a driving force in my career.

“My mother, a remarkable community leader in Bonteheuwel and a Cosatu worker fighting for underprivileged rights, instilled in me her fierce determination.”

Cary-Lee and Antonio met through mutual friends and developed a 10-year friendship before they got engaged.

Antonio, 27, is a law student who grew up in Ruyterwacht. The couple got hitched in January and currently reside in Loevenstein, Bellville.

Antonio explained how they became the new owners of the cosy eatery and entertainment joint: “We believe that the stars aligned for us. We happened to come across a TikTok video showcasing the stunning venue.

“The next morning we saw an ad in the Business Times that Honey and Dora was on the market. To us this was fate. We made contact with the owner and after tons of meetings and deliberations, here we are today.

“From the moment we stepped into this special place, we felt an undeniable connection. Our queer community in Cape Town has always needed a space that is truly inclusive and welcoming for all, and Honey and Dora is precisely that haven.”

Antonio said they were “dedicated to creating a welcoming and inclusive space for all members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies. We want it to be a vibrant, safe space where you can unwind, chill with friends, and even make new ones.”

According to Antonio, Honey and Dora offers “a variety of events from quiz nights, drag shows, burlesque shows, bingo evenings, karaoke and party nights, along with the best food and drinks at affordable prices.”