FOR about nine years couple Mark Mitchell and Anita Drury have visited Warrnambool considering the possibilities for a new cafe.
After contemplating a string of locations Mr Mitchell, a chef of 15 years, and Ms Drury, a self-taught pastry whiz, have settled on the old Reunion Cafe building for their new eatery Phoenix Cafe and Catering.
The couple moved from Bendigo to Warrnambool five years ago, but holidayed in Warrnambool for years before that.
"I have books at home where I have just planned and written out ideas, every year we would come down here and write something else down," Mr Mitchell said.
"We have had the plan to go into hospitality together for nine years."
The new business is set to bring up to 15 jobs to Warrnambool, with up to five of those full-time workers.
The cafe will initially serve breakfast and lunch and use coffee from a Melbourne brand.
"We'll do an Australian breaky. There will be a fridge full of toasties, pies and homemade cakes," Mr Mitchell said.
The couple plan to host "specialty nights" occasionally, while they await a liquor licence.
The building had been vacant for more than two years before the couple moved in.
Renovations have included a slim bar with a modern counter, using an orange and black colour scheme.
"It's a matter of creating the vibe and having the right consistency and all of the elements together every time someone walks in the door," Mr Mitchell said.
"We've just freshened it up."
Mr Mitchell has been a part owner for more than two years in a Portland cafe.
He said the coronavirus pandemic had not dampened his confidence to open a business.
"With everything that has gone on in the last 12 months, a lot more people are out and about and more inclined to go out and enjoy life," Mr Mitchell said.
He said he was pleased with the cafe's first day of trade, after it opened to about 70 customers on Thursday.
The new cafe has taken up the Koroit Street frontage, but there is a plan for office space at the Kepler Street frontage.
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