Cherry Darlings doesn’t offer the health-conscious, leafy menu people might assume they’d get at a vegan cafe. “We’re giving people the things they loved as kids,” says Tim Salmon.

He’s excited to bring his “vegan junk food” to the people of Port Adelaide. The owner of the popular Forestville bakery sees a great future for the booming suburb. “It has the potential to be the next Fremantle [near Perth] or St Kilda [in Melbourne],” he says.

Salmon’s not worried about the kilometres between the new digs and his current customer base. He sees it as an opportunity to grow his audience, saying his community has always been a strong advocate for the business. “Vegans are very vocal when they find places,” he says.

In fact, it was through a vegan Facebook group that he uncovered the opportunity at Cult and Harper. Artist Lisa King and musician Jarrad Jackson – who run the gallery-slash-studio-slash-event space – had only just posted about looking for a new pop-up when Salmon got in touch. He had staff pushing for more hours, and the business was running smoothly so, “It was time to try something new,” he says.

Cherry Darlings replaces Bob’s Bowls, which wrapped up a stint at the Port at the end of 2018. The venue is a permanent fixture, not a short-term experiment. The space is largely the same: King’s “Keith Haring tribute” – black and white doodle-type wall art – frames a simple set-up. A few tables, chairs and plants fill the main area and a bar runs the length of the large second-storey windows.

Salmon’s partner, Allie Tenae’a Garland, is busily piecing together furniture when Broadsheet visits. The pair had lugged the main cabinet upstairs during Adelaide’s recent heatwave, which was, “a test of our relationship” admits Garland. But she says doing the fit-out themselves adds “a nice personal touch.”

The pair didn’t go it totally alone. When their regulars heard the business was expanding a few offered to help with the move, and one – a glazier – made the cafe’s custom glasswork.

Because goods are delivered fresh from Forrestville’s ovens on the daily, the prep area could be kept small. That means plenty of room for display fridges and warmers brimming with Cherry Darlings’ beloved pastries – all 100 per cent plant-based – including Peri Peri “chicken” and Philly “cheesesteak” pies, cakes, doughnuts, cannoli, house-made ice-cream and more. “We’ll have our full range available every day,” says Salmon.

The cafe’s packaging is also sustainable – made from sugarcane, with vegetable cellulose straws for soft drinks and shakes.

This article was published on February 5. Menu items may have changed.

Cherry Darlings
Cult and Harper, Level 2, 168 St Vincent Street, Port Adelaide
Tue to Sat 9.30am–4.00pm
Sun & Mon closed