Southside residents are getting all the love cafe-wise, with venues thriving on the continued patronage of punters wanting more from their dining experience.
Inner suburbs on the south side of the river have long been bereft of any real options for local dining but the last few years have seen this change significantly.
Malcolm Watts, managing director of Higginbotham Watts Investments (who run popular cafes Leaf Espresso and Moose & Gibson), says the cafe scene in Brisbane’s southern suburbs is only just beginning to heat up.
“It’s been another rapid year for us,” he says. “We are about to launch our third venue in as many years and its only due to the success of our first destinations Leaf Espresso and Moose & Gibson that we can continue to grow our business.”
Watts says Brisbane’s dining scene is trying to match the more cosmopolitan expectations of suburbanites.
“I think we have a generation of people who have left the nest and travelled overseas, or lived in other capital cities around Australia,” he says. “They have come to experience different or increased levels of dining. I think this is what is driving the boom in hospitality in Brisbane at the moment.
“People move to Queensland to enjoy the very good lifestyle we have and they are expecting to experience the same standard and quality that say, Melbourne, has to offer.”
Woolloongabba in particular is seeing huge growth, with new cafes and bars in the shadow of the Gabba offering creative cocktails, carefully-planned dinners and brilliant breakfasts.
“I guess you could say Woolloongabba is a hotspot,” says Watt. “We have spent the last year getting to know the diverse mix of people that frequent the area. The local businesses have been incredible in supporting us.”
It seems people are responding to more than just a good brew, with Watt saying they stick to a simple formula of location, atmosphere, service and quality to draw all sorts of customers in, from the weekend hipster crowd to local business people craving their morning coffee.
“We are very proud of Moose and Gibson, we designed the entire space ourselves and the customers really appreciate the detail we have gone to,” says Watt. “It’s nice to have a location that is considered cool to so many different types of people.
“We recently picked up an award for Best New Restaurant 2013 by Urbanspoon, which is voted on by the public. When we get positive feedback it’s a nice pat on the back – we really encourage our customers to give us feedback, be it good or bad.”