A obsecure location in Merewether for this bustling cafe
On any given weekend it’s not uncommon to find people lined up out the door at this Merewether carwash-cafe on City Road, otherwise known as Table 1 Espresso.
Curious to know what all the fuss was about we chatted with George James, the owner and inspiration behind this super successful cafe.
However, before opening up about his secrets to success George provides us with some fascinating insights into those early days, confessing that his decision to open the restaurant was, “The best, scariest decision I’ve ever made.”
So what makes a restaurant whose position is in one of Newcastle’s more obscure locations so successful? Is it the Campos Coffee, the private outdoor dining area, or the consistently fresh and tasty menu that teases us via our Instagram feeds each day? Perhaps it’s the smiley happy staff that genuinely care about your visit and look after your every need. Or is it that you can get a car park right at the front door? If you ask George it’s all of these things and much, much more.
Growing up, in and around sandwich bars, takeaway shops, cafes and restaurants George admits the food industry is in his blood. Moving to Sydney in the early years George then hit the resort scene on Hamilton Island before spending time in London, France and Italy. Working closely with the Executive Chefs it was here that George said he not only learned so much but gained an appreciation for all aspects of the restaurant world. Returning home with a bunch of fresh ideas it was only a matter of time before George would put them into action.
So what can you expect when you visit Table 1 Espresso? The easy answer is just about everything! George didn’t want to just focus on the healthy or the unhealthy, instead there is a nice blend of both. Paleo and clean, healthy meals sit right next to delicious sugar coated waffles and those famous Nutella pancakes. If you prefer something a little in-between, their healthy burgers with sweet potato fries and Mama P’s raw gluten free sweets are a not so sugary option. George is a big believer in sourcing fresh and using local whenever he can and for those who follow on Facebook you’ll know George just loves to give away stuff.
George’s generosity is largely to do with a chance meeting with one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. Working at Hamilton Island Yacht Club at the time George and his mates were having a few drinks after work when a gentleman asked if he could join them for a beer, George and his mates welcomed the newcomer before realising that he just happened to be Richard Branson. George said a lot of laughs and garbage were spoken that afternoon but a piece of advice that Mr Branson offered has stuck with George, that being in order to be successful you need to make generosity a part of your growth strategy, a strategy George has embraced and has been a big contributor to his success.
Table 1 Espresso is not only tasty, friendly and super convenient but it’s a great story and one well worth checking out if you haven’t already.