Gold Coast and northern NSW businesses expanding to Brisbane isn’t a new phenomenon, but there’s been a notable number of operators coming up the M1 in recent months. Byron’s Moonshine Coffee arrived in Kangaroo Point in the middle of last year, and star Miami craft brewer Lost Palms opened a taproom in Sherwood in November.
On the north side, Mermaid Beach plant-hire joint The Borrowed Nursery and Casuarina boutique Nikkou Store have both established second homes in Colwill Place, an often overlooked line of heritage shops on the corner of Albion and Lutwyche roads. Now joining them is Helensvale import Bear Boy Espresso.
“We always said we’d expand north, if anywhere,” says owner Brodie Howard, who opened the original Bear Boy in December 2019 with husband Andrew Howard. “At the southern end of the Gold Coast, people are opening up [cafes] pretty much next door to each other … there’s so much more in Brisbane but it’s also that much bigger, meaning there are opportunities in certain areas.
“It’s as quick for me to drive to Windsor as it is to go to Palm Beach or to Broad Beach with traffic … But it’s nice to get off the coast and be somewhere different.”
That sentiment will make sense when you see the digs. Bear Boy in Helensvale is a handsome outlet but the Windsor cafe is something else again – a beguiling looker wedged into a gorgeous old shopfront, it’s all pink marble, polished concrete floors, dappled walls and arched shelving areas. An enormous front window allows plenty of light into space. Outside, the facade is framed by greenery, while the eastern end of the venue features a winsome balcony.
It’s an evolution in design that’s matched by subtle changes to Bear Boy’s food and drink menu.
“We’re doing a pour-over bar and a lot more in the way of filter and batch-brew coffee than we would on the Gold Coast,” Brodie says. “It’s definitely meant we’ve raised our game a little. I had ideas that we could keep everything largely the same, but we’ll also be tweaking the food in the coming weeks and months.”
For now, the food menu is an abridged take on the Helensvale cafe, built around staples such as a signature Benedict prepared with a potato waffle and sautéed greens, and a buttermilk-fried chicken dish that’s served with a sweet waffle and Sriracha hollandaise. Elsewhere, there’s a breakfast burger built with smoked bacon, cheddar and a fried egg.
For drinks, Single O coffee is backed by Mayde tea, Hrvst St juices and a clutch of smoothies and shakes.
“We learned during Covid after opening Helensvale that the biggest thing is to get locals behind you,” Brodie says. “So if we can do the same at Windsor and make a good impression on the people around here, they’ll ensure we keep our doors open.”
Bear Boy Espresso
Shop 8/180 Albion Road, Windsor
Tue to Sat 6am–2pm