Over his many years in hospitality, Michael Cotton has learnt one lesson: don't open a venue one month before Christmas.

However, in November last year Cotton broke his rule by opening his latest venue, Our Boy Roy.

"After taking over the site in April, going through the design process and working on the site, it's an expensive, exhausting process. So, I just couldn't afford to not be open," Cotton tells Broadsheet.

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"We never imagined in a million years that by day one we would have a line-up out the door, and it was just sheer chaos. It felt both exciting and terrifying at the same time.”

The space, which was once East Avenue neighbourhood favourite Rise & Grind, is now a 100-seat cafe, deli and general store named to honour Cotton’s father Roy, who is battling Parkinson’s disease.

Cotton worked with Rad Studio (the same designers behind Madre) on the venue's look. His objective was to brighten a dark and dimly lit space; the result is rustic brick walls bathed in white paint with a kick of colour coming through the lavender-hued coffee machine echoed by the venue’s front door.

There's bar seating at the front window, tables across the dining room adjacent and a grassy courtyard out the back, which seats about 30 people.

The venue's generous size has allowed Cotton to expand his menu from standard sandwiches to more dine-in-friendly options. He says they're focusing on the "classics, but with a modern spin".

Paninis and sandwiches are the big-ticket items on Our Boy Roy's menu, including a Chicago-inspired beef roll, a chunky mortadella sando, a schnitzel sando and a meatball and sugo sub.

"I want mortadella falling out of the sandwich and I want the schnitzel to be way too big for the roll – it's meant to be fun and worth your effort," he explains. "I think I could probably count on one hand the places you could find meatball subs in Adelaide outside of Subway and the Crafers Pizza Bar."

All-day breakfast is served in the form of old favourites such as bacon and eggs, Davidson's plum hotcakes and eggs Benedict. Cotton says he plans to change up the menu regularly.

"I want it to be a destination for people, I want people to walk out feeling as full as a boot. You've had a great coffee, a great feed, an over-the-top sweet milkshake – all of this adds up so you actually feel like it was worth the trip."

The general store sells everything from flowers to relishes and jams from Drunken Sailor and tubes of the iconic Dutch mayonnaise Gin Mayo.

At Our Boy Roy, Cotton is continuing his collaboration with Sydney coffee roaster Single O, which supplies his Semaphore cafe High Tide. The self-serve batch brew filter coffee system has been "selling out daily", Cotton says. "It's just nice to see people embracing new things."

Our Boy Roy
114 East Ave, Clarence Park

Daily 7am–3pm