Kate Williams thought she’d be in Brisbane for a year.
“My husband, Nick, asked if I wanted to move not expecting me to say yes,” Williams says, laughing. This was back in 2009. “I’d been living in Cronulla for seven years and I thought ‘Why not?’ … I remember all my girlfriends crying when I was leaving and I was, like, ‘I’m gonna be back.’”
Williams didn’t go back. Instead, she stayed and created Nodo, arguably one of Brisbane’s most recognisable independent cafe brands. What started as a market stall in 2014 flipping baked gluten-free doughnuts quickly evolved into a Newstead outlet in 2015, a small city outlet in 2016, an expansion of the original into a classy brunch cafe, and then two more cafes in Camp Hill and South Bank (there are also kiosks in Westfield Carindale, Westfield Garden City and Indooroopilly Shopping Centre).
Now comes Nodo Hawthorne, which opened in a brand-new development off Hawthorne Road in early April. It’s a distinctly Nodo space; architects Cameron & Co deal in crisp, clean features bathed in plenty of natural light. But it’s also different. Pink-marble tables, caramel-leather banquettes and terracotta brick create a warmly coloured cafe that’s a clear evolution from Nodo’s traditional black, white and concrete. Even the uniforms have evolved – the Nodo staff shirts and sweaters now come in soft peaches and greens.
“We wanted it to still be distinctly Nodo, but something different from what came before as well,” Williams says. “I wanted it to be welcoming and relaxing.”
A fifth venue wasn’t meant to happen this fast.
“I’ve worked with this landlord [Hammell] before in Camp Hill,” Williams says. “He put it to us and I was, like, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know.’ But once I got here and they started building the place I thought, ‘I love it.’ I live a couple of blocks away. There hasn’t been a heap happening over here in recent years so it felt like Bulimba and Hawthorne’s turn to have some fresh faces in the mix.
“But this is our fifth cafe so we’re just refining and refining. We’ve continued to improve and evolve things.”
Nodo’s menu has continued to evolve too, with long-time favourites such as the Nodo eggs and the egg-and-bacon milk bun recently joined by a sambal crab omelette and a Nodo nourish bowl. New for Hawthorne are a native-spiced fried chicken burger (with lemon myrtle mayo and mountain pepperberry) and a mushroom version. Everything is, as always, gluten free. And what hasn’t changed are the signature baked doughnuts, which include classic flavours such as Novo, Beetroot Blackout and the Breakfast doughnut.
For drinks, there’s Nodo’s house-blend coffee served espresso, and a single-origin available on batch brew. There are also matcha lattes, organic turmeric lattes, Mayde tea and a shake menu.
Also new at Hawthorne is a dedicated pantry section peddling Nodo’s gluten-free flour and self-raising flour, gluten-free waffle and pancake blend, xanthan gum, baking moulds, gluten-free blueberry granola, organic rapadura sugar, and a gluten-free crumb mix. You can expect more products to be unveiled later in the year.
265 Hawthorne Road, Hawthorne
(07) 3184 4200