The name of the cafe came to George when all good ideas do, at 4 AM in the morning. The feature Oregon table is the centrepiece of the cafe, propped up on an old railway bridge beam which used to be in the Otways and ran between Geelong to Warrnambool. So, the old Weidlich corner store in Eltham (on Weidlich Rd) - that had been closed for four months - has now been refurbished, repainted, refashioned as the pumping Oregon Xpress. A fabulous artwork was commissioned especially for the cafe.
The renovations took 3 1/2 months to complete and they have created a very warm attractive place to meet and greet. Already, after only five weeks, Leah calls out goodbye to regular customers by their name. It's the sort of place you can imagine revisiting for breakfast every weekend. Come as you like and bring your whole family. This cafe is for all comers and they cater for everyone. They stock vegan and vegetarian treats, dairy free, allergy free and gluten-free options.
George and Leah are the proud new owners. They have had over 10 years experience at another cafe in South Yarra. George told me how welcoming the community has been and how he is listening and responding to their requests. They have visions of making this buzzing cafe even more homely by putting in a fireplace and hopefully opening up one end of the cafe to enable outdoor dining in a courtyard.
The cafe features many of the original styling items such as the trike light and Russian boat light shades but they have added some very homely touches like the TV and couch. Leah told me about her happy memories as a little girl sitting on the couch at her Auntie and Uncle's. She knew right away when she purchased the store where it would be seated with an array of eclectic cushions. Also new to the cafe is a large screen TV, where in the future they imagine their customers gathering for a beer on tap and footy on TV.
The Oregon Xpress is very reasonably priced. I noticed on the special's board a 'soup of the day' and bread for just $10. Just last week I saw at another local cafe a 'soup of the day' for $16.
The Oregon Xpress have a breakfast menu that caters for everyone. You can 'just have toast' ($6), porridge or avo smash or something new like herb crumbed eggplant stack platter ($18), buckwheat and coconut pancakes, or the 'big breakfast' of eggs, bacon, sausages, mushrooms, hash brown, spinach, house-made beans and toasted sourdough for $21.
The lunch menu includes many sandwiches, rolls, wraps and burgers or something more like golden pan-fried salmon fillet with avocado fettuccini white wine and fennel cream sauce ($24). Believe it or not, that's the most expensive meal you can buy.
Today we tried the spanakopita, which was a very large serve for just $8, cheese and ham croissant, vegan carrot cake, coffee, tea, and freshly squeezed juice all for under $40. I don't think you could do much better in terms of price.
Spanakopita, ham and cheese croissant and carrot cake