Former stockbroker Zac Lazarac has been involved with cafes for most of his adult life. His mum, Julie, has owned Cafe Dezire in Morningside for over 12 years.
“Since finishing high school, throughout university and even when I worked [as a stockbroker] in the city, I’d go there on Saturdays and help her out,” Lazarac says.
It was while Lazarac was working in finance that he bought a 15-kilogram Probat coffee roaster. He fiddled around with it in his spare time, fine-tuning a blend until he was happy with it. He ended up naming it after his mother: the Julie Blend.
Lazarac eventually quit his day job to follow his dream of opening his own cafe, with Salt Coffee Roasters launching in Newstead in early 2019. Now comes his second venue, Little Salt, which opened last Friday in Fortitude Valley.
Little Salt is an abbreviated version of his much bigger Newstead site. The offering is geared towards takeaway, with a small selection of baked goods from Sprout Artisan Bakery. The attention is squarely on the coffee – the Julie Blend uses a combination of Brazilian, Ethiopian, Guatemalan and Papua New Guinean coffee beans.
“It’s so versatile, that’s what I love about it,” Lazarac says. “If you have a long black or a milk-based [coffee], you get a lot of chocolate, caramel notes [in both]. It really stands out.”
The beautiful custom-made kiosk, with its ribbed blue exterior and gold accents, is nestled under tall palm trees outside property buyers agent Cohen Handler. Lazarac says he took design cues from pictures he came across via architecture and design accounts on Instagram. He sent them to interior designer Lewis Shaw (of Shaw & Keenan), who worked with Brooklyn Building Co to construct the kiosk. There’s a handful of tables, some under large turquoise umbrellas and others built into into big boulders below the leafy trees.
Little Salt’s only a short drive from the Newstead original, but for Lazarac it’s about giving his local regulars a second option in the area. Already, he’s found that some customers have enjoyed the benefits.
“A regular this morning was like, ‘It was really busy over at Newstead, there was a line out the door,’” says Lazarac. “Then he realised we were over here now and grabbed a coffee on his way to work in the city. He was like, ‘This is awesome!’”
Corner of McLachlan and Little James Street, Fortitude Valley