Wholefoods, coffee, art, and events in a historic converted pub
Not many cafes in our region can say they boast a building as historic as Maitland Street Collective, the cafe located inside the 1920s-era Commercial Hotel in Branxton.
After trading as a pub for over 100 years, the Commercial Hotel was turned into a community hub in 2019, with businesses able to lease different spaces inside the building.
Since taking over one side of the pub’s ground floor and courtyard (plus the cellar), Maitland Street Collective has become a meeting place for the local community.
“It’s a nice spot where people feel like they can hang out and do computer work instead of sitting at home,” owner Heather Taylor said.
“We have mum groups come in, we have people passing through, but then we have our regular customers, and the overflow from pilates as well. It’s become a really lovely space to be.”
Heather and her husband Jeff bought Maitland Street Collective in July this year after working with the previous owner Grace in the cafe since October 2022.
After starting up her own catering business called Soul Food Collective in 2019, coming to Maitland Street Collective last year was a chance to get back to the social aspect of hospitality that she’d come to miss during her time working in admin, then on her own with Soul Food Collective.
“I just realised how much I was missing it, and Wednesday became my favourite day of the week because I got to go and work at the cafe. It sort of snowballed from there. Grace was looking to return to her creative career, and she offered me the opportunity to take over the cafe.
“Having my own cafe has always been a bit of a pipe dream and it just landed in my lap.”
Heather has continued Maitland Street Collective’s focus on wholefoods, whether it’s the cafe’s salads and wraps or much-loved brownies and cakes. The food is simple, yet fresh and delicious, made with as many local ingredients as Heather can get her hands on. Supporting other local families in business is a focus of Maitland Street Collective.
The cafe’s eggs are from down the road at SoH Farmlet, meat is bought next door from Hungerford Meat Co, cheese is from Binnorie Dairy in Lovedale, and Heather sources the cafe’s alcoholic drinks from IronBark Hill Brewhouse and Mercer Wines in Pokolbin, and John Wallace Wines in Rothbury.
“We have quite a few customers that bring in offerings from their gardens. It’s coming into tomato season, and I’ve had three people say ‘We’ve got tomatoes on,’ so there’ll be a few tomato options on the menu.”
Plus, gluten-free eaters will be pleased – much of Maitland Street Collective’s menu is gluten free, including the very popular lemon cake.
Maitland Street Collective isn’t only a cafe – the team have transformed the cellar into an art gallery that showcases the work of local artists, and there’s a retail shelf where you can buy local flowers by Tomorrow’s Bloom, candles by Mother Moonstone, tea by Buds and Beads, and hand-drawn cards by local artists.
There’s already several exhibitions lined up for next year in the gallery, so make sure you pop down for a look on your next visit – you might discover your new favourite artist.
And, since the cafe takes up residence inside a historic pub, the space makes for a charming spot to host events. While Maitland Street Collective regularly hosts events like yoga classes and markets, you’re also able to hire out the space yourself for an engagement party, a family gathering, a work meeting, or whatever you fancy, really – all fully catered by Maitland Street Collective.
We can see why the community gravitates to Maitland Street Collective. It encapsulates what a small town cafe should be – a spot for locals to come together and support each other, and eat good food while they do it.