My friends call the Sandbar Beach Café my 'happy place' and they're spot on! Whenever there's a bit of sunshine on a winter's day, that's THE PLACE I head for. This was such a day when the sun was playing hide and seek; so the moment it stayed up in the sky, I went to my happy place. The Café being right on the beach is a real drawcard for me and many others. You'd be lucky to get a look in for a seat inside on a summers day, but then again, there's plenty beach sand to sit on to enjoy the moment when you're hankering for a shot of caffeine.
I got there just 20 minutes before closing time and the café was packing up with just a couple of customers still enjoying the ambiance. Things were as always and it didn't occur to me it had changed ownership. By chance I asked Barry (the new owner) about the old owners to see how they were going, when he told me he was now the new owner.
The café changed hands in October last year (2015) and Barry and his wife Michelle are the new owners. It was reassuring for me that not a lot is going to be changing and that the tried and true formula remains, with a few little additions to the menu.
It's heaven just chillaxing and taking in the beach views
Barry is a good sort to chat to. He's kinda funny with an understated sense of humour which made chatting to him very easy, like a lazy day on the beach.
He comes from a shipping background and had his own import export business. Michelle is a lawyer but for the last 7 years she's been busy taking care of far more important cases like the future generation, their two young children.
Barry tells me this is his sea-change, his midlife crisis, his 7 year itch (I told you he was kinda funny). Michelle had also been wanting to get into the restaurant business for the last 5 years.
When they found out the café was for sale through a recommendation, they went to it for a whole month prior to see how the place was run, eat the food and to get a feel of the staff and customers frequenting the café before taking the plunge.
It was a smart move, but I could have told him the café was in a choice spot and how much everyone loved it! Hah! It's good to know most everything is staying the same for fans like me. There are plans to add to the menu. With a multi-cultural number of chefs, there'll be a few cultural additions down the track; for instance, the Nepalese Momo for the winter menu, which are Nepal's most popular dumplings filled with meat and vegetables and generally eaten with a tomato pickle.
If you think the changeover of ownership went without flaws, you would be wrong. Our dear Barry made one very major mistake. He took my favourite, the 'salmon stack' off the menu. Whatha?! He was paying attention to the customers complaining about the crispy potato rosti being a bit too thick, so he thought he'd take it off the menu for a while. He found out there were more salmon stack lovers than there were complaints, so it's back! This time with a thinner rosti, so there's no complaints about it being too thick, and everyone is happy.
Down the track there are plans to add a fireplace to the café to make it even warmer and cosier for the winter period, however for now, everything you're familiar with stays the same, along with the provision of the same good service, terrific location and ambiance and catering services. Personally, I've always thought the place to be a perfect wedding venue. Perhaps I'm lulled by the beach front that makes my imagination run wild.