Brunswick locals seemed more excited about John Gorilla when it opened than other cafes, and for good reason - a lot of them played a role in funding it. After John Gorilla’s construction fell behind schedule, it joined up to crowd funding website Pozible to raise some cash. Through the website, people could sign up for vouchers for coffee and food in exchange for donations. Locals really embraced the idea with many coming past and knocking on the window as John Gorilla was being built to say they had kicked in money and were keen to find out when the opening date was.
The space is colourful and quirky with multi-coloured rulers that line the cafe's counter. Leadlight windows add further character and sit nicely with much-loved Melbourne artist and designer Beci Orpin's hand-painted geometric mural (on the main wall). There’s even a small courtyard out the back for balmy days.
A breakfast menu that includes everything from lambs fry to French toast is turned out from the kitchen. John Gorilla’s potato hash is a local favourite, thanks to the addition of Kaiserfleisch smoked pork belly – a German delicacy. Lunch options include bacon butties, toasted bagels and salads. There’s also a heap of sweet treats on offer, including canelés (caramelised on the outside and then custardy inside) and delicate orange and raspberry friands.
Just keep an eye out for the quietly smug locals who act like they own the place. In a funny sort of way, they do.