It’s been less than a month at Newfolk Cafe and Jaz Hobson already knows the names of everyone on the block, if not all their coffee orders. Residents and workers are flocking to this tiny storefront for the happy vibes as much for the friendly barista’s perfectly frothed milk.
After months of renovations in the adjacent space to an old butcher’s building in Newtown, it was just a simple dream, some great coffee and passion that was needed to bring the Newfolk cafe to life.
For Jaz, running her own cafe is something she has always wanted to do.
“I’ve been in hospitality for a really long time, so it’s something I’ve always thought about doing. I worked at Winters Café for a few years with the boys, and that was great and I really loved it there. It was quite inspiring, seeing people do food really well and it just made me really love it and love service again.”
It wasn’t until Jaz saw the abandoned space in the old butcher’s building that she truly fell in love with the idea.
“I looked at buying the cafe next door but wasn’t totally sold on it, then the real estate agent suggested I look at this space (even though it wasn’t officially up for lease) and I totally fell in love with it. I’ve always loved this building, it’s kind of a Geelong icon, everyone knows the old butcher building,” she says.
“It was being used as an office, so lots of work went into it! We’ve put in a full kitchen, bar, started the court yard (which is a work in progress) and did a lot of cosmetic changes. Being north facing, we get all the winter sun so I wanted to capitalise on that and we had some beautiful bar seating installed.”
With hand-painted stools, a deep blue feature wall, indoor plants and stunning pendants, the space has a fresh new look sporting a casual and mellow neighbourhood vibe.
With a strong focus on delicious coffee, the menu reflects everything that Newfolk set out to be – fresh, experimental, nourishing and delicious, with creations and flavour combinations that taste as considered as they look on the plate.
“Dezeraei [Graauwmans] is the brain child behind our menu, however we collaborate on dish ideas and the overall theme. We bounce off each other really well,” Jaz says.
Whether you go for the wild rice porridge with winter fruits, rhubarb, seeds and grains, or you opt for the purple potato gnocchi with broccoli, almonds, gorgonzola and watercress, you’ll be treated to a dish that is served with quality from people who love what they do.
“We’re just so excited to be here doing what we love. I couldn’t be happier,” Jaz says. “I love just about every aspect of it and meeting all the customers. I’m a bit of a self-confessed coffee and food nerd so I’m in my element really.”
Alongside the amazing food, mellow vibes and specialty coffee, also comes a focus on local and sustainable practices, with Jaz and her chef Dezerae working together to produce a short, changing menu that can maximise this ethos.
“I’m quite passionate about sustainability, given the current challenges we face on an environmental level, I believe it’s our duty to make the most informed decisions regarding our footprint. To me, it’s not all about the dollar. We’ve chosen to work with like-minded suppliers and producers,” Jaz says.
“Barongarook Pork are rare breed pig farmers and we buy the whole pig from them – this reduces waste and shows the most respect to the animal. Some of our other suppliers are Wes Eggs, Schultz Organic Dairy and Small Batch Roasters. We actively work with all of them to find environmental solutions to reduce our waste and ensure we being respectful to our products.”
From making their own almond milk, to supporting local businesses with a selection of French style croissants from Ket Baker, Newfolk Cafe has created the cosy neighbourhood cafe that you can call home.
Newfolk Cafe is located at 105 Skene Street, Newtown and is open Tuesday- Friday 7:30am – 5pm and weekends 8am – 2pm.
Written by Talia Rinaldo