‘A Spot for Joe’ has been a Geelong favourite for over 6 years, and when its original owner Jared Cooper decided to call it a day, long-time customer, Dave Browning jumped at the opportunity to have his own permanent shopfront.
Having spent years running other people’s cafes, and growing his mobile coffee van “Mr B” made popular by AFL star weddings, Dave felt the time was right to put his efforts into a fixed location. It’s a site that echoes this humble man’s approach to hospitality; discreet yet tasteful, resonating with Melbourne’s café culture. Dave’s mother struggled to find the venue, due to its low-key position at the bottom of a backstreet carpark. Unearthing ‘A Spot for Joe’ is half the fun, and that’s what Dave loves about it. “We have very little signage, and I like that discreet nature of the café”. While the venue itself may be unassuming, Dave prides himself in the ‘reverence’ theme that runs through the café. “We respect our customer’s intelligence; it creates a vibe and atmosphere that I want in a café”. His methodical and goal driven attitude are vestiges from his military background. I had an inkling Dave was the sort of person who leads by example, and when he admitted to having that mantra tattooed onto his body, I wasn’t surprised.
Inside awaits a clean setting with exposed brick walls, and warm timber furnishings encased by an upholstered banquette matching the black light fitting suspended from above. One of the most striking elements of the interior is the large Slim Aarons photograph, ‘Poolside Gossip’, circa 1970. It depicts two women sitting by a pool in a Palm Springs home, with a sublime landscape featuring rugged mountains and golden rays. It emulates the venue’s relaxed and sunny disposition, and amplifies the focus on enjoying the experience.
As far as coffee goes, Dave didn’t think twice about changing to Clark Street Roasters. True to form, he made the transition sensitively, and the cliental received it with much affection. “We are a spot for coffee, so it’s important we get our coffee right, and I feel the support and product from Clark Street has allowed me to put my best foot forward”.
The Wallflower blend serves as the house coffee, and is made up with beans from Costa Rica Finca Valerio, which have been processed three different ways (Natural, White Honey, and Yellow Honey). As a latte, it delivers a wonderfully sweet cup, with cherry highlights. A honey processed Costa Rican from Finca Toño is currently available for black coffee, and it is lively with stone fruit highlights. Cold brew served over a large block of ice is also available.
The menu has been tightened up, and concentrations on classics done well, with vegan alternatives. Meals are uncomplicated. Blueberry bagels with cream cheese; house made granola; and smashed avocado on soy linseed sourdough. For those hungry for something with an ethnic twist, there’s the Chicken & Black Bean Quesadillas; Japanese Salad bowls; and Persian Waffles with Turkish delight and fairy floss.
Dave plans to make the space available for small functions, and once a liquor application is through, ‘A Spot for Joe’ will open into the evening for cocktail parties and events.
A Spot for Joe
33 Little Ryrie Street