June 20, 2014

The Edwards

It was a beautiful winter’s morning and my belly was yearning a hearty breakfast to fuel a busy day. I was told about a new clever café that was put together by a few prominent Newcastle businessmen. I thought straight away that a café with a name like Edwards couldn’t be too bad, as I share the same surname. This café’s name came from anthropologist Sir Edward Burnett Tylor, a social observer and renowned author looking at culture and its affects on human behaviour.

A few minutes’ walk from the CBD, and I was taken away by the smart use of design in this old warehouse space now turned into a cool café, restaurant and bar. I have seen plenty of warehouse conversions in my time, but this one was a standout in design and practical layout. It is sometimes hard to merge three business models together, but the team at Edwards did a great job pulling all the hospitality elements together in this old drive through dry cleaning business.

My breakfast choice was a winner – a real winter warmer of savoury mince on sourdough with a big helping of streaky bacon. Other menu items are built around the impressive woodfire oven, and they make smart use of share plates, keeping up with latest dining trends. The coffee experience was great, and I backed up the meal nicely with a well-made piccolo. I was later to find out one of the business partners was Chris Johnson, a seasoned coffee operator who owned successful cafés/roastery Suspension and Good Brother Espresso.

The other curious thing behind this business is that one of the partners is Chris Joannou, formerly of successful Australian band Silverchair; the band that originated in Newcastle and dominated world charts in 2000. Chris has replaced his bass guitar for a group handle and is getting stuck right into the café service. Being a superstar in a previous life has not made Chris unapproachable; the day I visited he was getting down and dirty in the garden. I could sense his excitement as we discussed Newcastle and the café industry in general. Chris’ parents previously ran the dry cleaning business from this site, and the third business partner and interior designer, Tim Leveson, has made use of some of the fixtures, including the old metal drying drums and impressive light fixtures. The beer fonts are also made from bits of the old laundry and look impressive on the concrete bar.

It’s a tribute to Chris and his mates for pulling together this complete hospitality concept and revitalising a tired end of Newcastle. I look forward to revisiting to have a night time experience of sticky ribs, woodfire lamb shoulder and the full selection of craft beers.

The Edwards
148 Parry Street, Newcastle west NSW
(02) 4965 3845
Open: Tue to Sat, 7am – 12am; Sun 7am – 10pm, Mon – closed.


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