Joe the carpenter and Libby the teacher are both Sawtellians who decided to make their dream of working together and sharing their love of healthy delicious food come true … and hence Open Air Café was born! They both tell us more …
Congratulations, Libby and Joe on the successful first year in your business, Open Air Café. What have been some of the highlights and challenges for you?
Thank you! We can’t believe it has been a whole year; it has flown by so quick! There have been so many highlights, including connecting with so many amazing customers, learning the ins and outs of running a food business, employing and working with the most incredible staff and having fun experimenting with delicious, fresh food from some great local suppliers. The best part has been being able to do it together.
There have also been a fair share of challenges, including learning how to begin a food business from scratch, trying to navigate the right business path and keeping customers happy, while also sticking to our values.
You are both Sawtell locals but have come from very different backgrounds to that of hospitality. Can you tell us more about yourselves, your inspiration and transition to café owners and operators?
The hospitality industry is very new to us both! Joe is a carpenter by trade, so his background has been mainly that of building, and insurance building, and Libby’s background is primary school teaching. Because we always had a dream of working together and a joint love of food and our home town of Sawtell, when the opportunity to start a new adventure together arose, we thought – why not!
You’ve had a change in focus from picnics and take aways to eat in dining with a new chef and a fab new menu – what can we expect to see/eat?
Our ultimate vision to create fresh, delicious and affordable food for all ages and tastes hasn’t changed, but our focus has certainly shifted towards becoming a dine-in café, and offering a wider range of options for breakfast and lunch.
While we still offer a variety of picnic hampers, we now offer a full dine-in breakfast and lunch menu, which our customers can enjoy in our café with us, or they can take away if they are busy and on the go. Our menu offers heaps of options for meat lovers, vegetarians and vegans and includes a DIY breakfast menu, vegetarian beans, brekky burgers, brekky wraps and matcha pancakes. Our lunch menu offers delicious salads, beef and vegetarian burgers, soups, wraps, nachos, smoothies, milkshakes, smoothie bowls and more. We love catering for people with specific food intolerances and can tailor any of our meals to suit most preferences.
You have a strong focus on healthy food at Open Air Café; how important is promoting healthy food options and a healthy lifestyle to you both?
We both have a passion for healthy food and a strong belief that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is so important, not only for our physical health. but mental health too. Because of this, we are passionate about the food we prepare, and the people we source our produce from.
We want to change the misconception out there that healthy food is boring or tasteless- and show people that healthy food can not only taste amazing, but makes you feel good too!
While our menu is primarily healthy, we believe that life is about balance – therefore we have a few options for when you feel like a bit of a treat! Come on in and say hi and taste some of our delicious meals on offer!
Phone 02 66582505
61 First Avenue, Sawtell