BROWN paper on the windows of the landmark Western Hotel building has been removed to reveal a new cafe that wants to bring big-city coffee culture to Warrnambool.
Co-owner Ali Kavanagh and three other owners, all with hospitality backgrounds, started the new cafe called Toto on the corner of Kepler and Timor streets after buying the building's former occupant The Last Coach.
The cafe was closed for renovations for two months after the sale and Ms Kavanagh said there was a constant rush since it opened last week.
"It's has just been constant, coffee trade first thing in the morning, we are open from 7am, and all the way through has been pretty constant," she said.
"But nothing we are not used to, it's quick turnover so it's never much of a wait."
The cafe sources Axil Coffee Roasters blends and has an Australian breakfast-lunch aesthetic that Ms Kavanagh says brings Melbourne's coffee culture to Warrnambool.
"It used to be the case that you had to go to Melbourne to access that food culture and that coffee culture," she said.
"We are trying to bring that here, and I think a lot of other cafes and restaurants in Warrnambool are doing that as well.
"People are moving to Warrnambool and kids are staying in Warrnambool after high school. It's about keeping up with the rest of the society of Warrnambool."
The venue also transforms into a wine bar on Thursday and Friday nights, and will continue to be available for function hire.
"I think people know this venue as a function space, and that has carried over from before.
"I think people know this venue as a function space, and that has carried over from before," Ms Kavanagh, who worked as an events manager in the past, said.
She said the cafe was proud of bringing a "way of life" to Warrnambool.
"We all work hard and you want to be able to go out and enjoy a nice meal and a decent coffee, and you should have that available to you in your own town, especially in a town as big as Warrnambool."
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