Using the same formula that worked at Parkers Café in Parkdale six years ago and Main Street Café in Mordialloc three years ago, Brett Slaughter and Jimmy Christo, backed by partners Rob Kent, Cory Jimmieson and Austin Sims, have struck a third blow for café-loving bayside locals.
It’s a combination of train station proximity, informal-yet-modern décor, quality food and coffee – and a sense of adventure.
Group spokesman Slaughter says young bayside families want a slice
of the café culture in Melbourne’s inner suburbs.
“There’s a younger demographic in bayside now, all of whom grew up in the area and are now having their own children,” he says.
“They are interested in food and cooking, they have grown up during the latte boom and they don’t want to travel into the city to go out.”
The six-week-old Corner Store is licensed to seat 300 (including outdoor seating) and has been cleverly divided to allow local families to celebrate occasions in groups of all sizes.
The menu offers guarana OJ and a brekky dog kransky with rocket and onion jam; there are all-day sharing plates and solo serves of ravioli.
The coffee, Dimattina’s Prima Tazza blend, is known and loved by those who patronise the sibling cafés. As an espresso it’s a subtle, lightly roasted brew with notes of milk chocolate and toasted almonds. Milk-based brews are creamy, with well-textured milk and a hint of malt.
Tory Wilcox has worked in hospitality since she was 16. She
has also studied psychological science and is a bayside resident – and that’s a combination ensuring local coffee drinkers receive their brews “however they like it” when she’s on the espresso machine.
“If they like their coffee super-hot and weak, or strong and lukewarm, it’s our job to give it to them that way,” she says. “As much as I don’t like to burn the milk, if that’s how they want it, that’s what I’ll do.”
Wilcox ran a mobile coffee van in Brisbane and worked in cafés in Melbourne’s CBD before joining the team at Parkers six years ago. She and her partner are planning to head bush at the end of the year to begin a tourism business, and you get the feeling her new clients will get exactly what they want, too.
The Corner Store
1 Swanston Street, Mentone
Phone \ 9583 6462
Barista \ Tory Wilcox
Coffee \ Dimattina
Barista’s choice \ Double-ristretto latte
Open \ Daily 6.30am-late
Less corner store, more café-cum-bistro, this vast space in the basement of a new apartment and retail complex has the potential to wear many hats.
Sturdy café blinds around the perimeter create a snug outdoor area furnished with bar stools, while inside intricate rope “curtains” and polished concrete floors define a function space.
Sassy red, green and mustard-yellow chequered carpet is matched by tiles around the kitchen area and a shiny red espresso machine.
Bold black metal-and-glass caged light fittings, timber slats over the ceiling and an intricate copper pipe sculpture announce a new attitude to café décor in bayside.