Merewether's new neighbourhood cafe
Unless you’re a Merewether local, you might not have noticed the latest coffee shop to pop up in the suburb’s backstreets.
Opening on November 21, 2023, Paper Run Espresso has transformed the historic Merewether Newsagency into a bright, airy neighbourhood cafe. Don’t worry – if you’re a keen newspaper reader, you can still get your paper at Paper Run.
The new espresso bar is the work of Meckenzie Youngblutt and Josh Marshall, the same couple who own 23Hundred in Newcastle East and Akuna Cafe in Merewether. The pair moved to Newcastle from northern NSW for university years ago, and have never looked back.
When the chance to own 23Hundred came up back in 2021, the couple took the opportunity with a “what’s the worst that could happen?” attitude. The same approach is what led the pair to Akuna, and then to Paper Run.
“Funnily enough, we get our bread for Akuna from Merewether Fresh Bake. Josh had popped in to grab the bread for the day and noticed that the newsagents next door were closing down.
“Josh being Josh and poking his finger in something else, meant we were in the car that afternoon to go and look at the space and see what we could do. Later that week we were signing papers and completely oblivious to what was ahead,” Meckenzie said.
That’s because the building had been operating as a newsagency for 64 years, and prior to that, was home to the Flook family. Changing the use of the space required a development application and eight months of waiting.
“We were itching to get in before the warm weather, so as soon as we got the green light, we had it demoed and fitted out in six weeks!”
The result is a modern cafe with plenty of white, timber accents, and pops of green. Mackenzie and Josh have kept the menu simple but fresh, much like the fit-out.
“Whilst our bread and butter is of course the coffee, we have replicated our style of quality fast bites that complement our quality fast coffee. You can expect gourmet-style toasties, smoothies, milkshakes, all the cafe favourites, and of course incorporating a little bit of our açai game from Akuna, which we believe is the best açai in Newy.”
Now with two months of trade under their belt, Meckenzie and Josh are thrilled with the support they’ve received from locals.
“It’s been quite surreal how much support everyone has given us… We’ve loved meeting the locals and hearing their stories – seeing the same people start to come in every morning is what it’s all about!”
With the pair bringing this friendly energy to Paper Run, the atmosphere is very sociable – perfect for coffee catch ups.
“Our favourite part about small business is the stories, meeting new people, creating life-long connections and being a part of someone’s daily routine. You never know who you’re going to bump into at your local.”