Local families have a new spot to drink in both the views and the coffee as The Garden Mill Cafe opened its doors in Bargara last month.
Situated at 100 Hughes Road just behind Bargara Berries, The Garden Mill Cafe is the next offering from owners Joey Caruana and Kirsty Rogers alongside their award-winning Windmill Café and The Beach Mill.
The family and dog-friendly venue boasts a select menu of some of the region’s finest produce as well as a playground, beautiful gardens to explore and even chickens, guinea pigs and quails.
Joey said the inspiration behind The Garden Mill Cafe was to celebrate the region's young hospitality talent.
“Kirsty and I are always looking for something new and we were looking for somewhere where we can have a property or a space where we can really encourage and mentor young locals,” he said.
“We’ve always found we nurture and help young chefs and young front of house people, young baristas, because there’s a need for them to explore and do something creative which allows them to go on and lead our region.
“We’ve always showcased our local growers and producers but this is a real showcase of our local people.”
Joey said with The Windmill Cafe being operational for seven years and The Beach Mill for almost three, The Garden Mill Cafe felt like a natural progression without overextending their young family, and the response had been “overwhelming”.
“We opened during the school holidays, so that was a great opportunity to showcase what we do, not only for locals but for guests travelling to our region,” he said.
“Our menu is smaller but there’s appetite to deep dive into it, it's not just about the food but about the people who supply it.
“We want to be a destination cafe that showcases our farmers because building relationships is what Bundaberg business is all about.”
While Joey said their ethos remained to mentor young people and give their team the opportunity to “shine and grow”, their focus was also on their echo and environmental obligations to the community.
“We have the opportunity here as we have [a] big area of land for growing but we’ve got some animals, composting, a septic tank watering our gardens, solar panels – so we’ve really become a [circular] economy,” he said.
“We want to continue to push the eco side of the business and ask ‘what more can we do to become a zero food waste cafe?' and we’re on that path already.
“We want to be a destination cafe with ethics and showcase our farmers as they’ve become our friends and family and we’re a part of that land too.
“Living in regional Australia gives you the opportunity to do that.
“People are coming to our region for that wholesomeness and cafes like ours give them a taste of what life is like here.”