“Welcome men, women, children and wookies …” announces a blackboard on Queen Street in Brisbane’s CBD. It’s literally the first sign that Glen Morris’ Death Star Canteen has finally landed.
Inspired by Eddie Izzard’s cult comedy routine of the same name and, of course, the hugely popular Star Wars films it lampoons, Glen Morris’ “cafe that you’re looking for” was originally slated for a May the 4th Be With You opening, but delays with installing a grease trap pushed it back to the next best option: just getting it done.
The hold-ups have allowed Morris and his wife and co-owner, Tanya, to fine-tune everything else. And you can tell: staff uniforms come replete with stormtrooper caps and Princess Leia buns. A stormtrooper swings from a hammock in the corner. Tea is delivered in R2-D2 teapots. Delicately detailed Death Star flowerpots dot the tables.
It’s a surprisingly subtle effect, the interior instead defined by some sleek graphic design from Consume Creative’s Nick Martin. “It wasn’t meant to be a tacky, kitschy sort of place,” Morris says. “It was meant to just look at first glance like a beautiful cafe, and then if you sat in it for 20 minutes, you could spot 30 things from Star Wars and go, ‘Ah, I see all that stuff.’”
The menu isn’t messing around either. With guidance from former Mondo Organics chef Brenda Fawdon, Morris has put together a range of thick-cut Italian-style sandwiches built on focaccia from Ashgrove’s Banneton Bakery, complemented by house-made condiments, locally sourced free-range meat (from Morris’ brother’s farm) and eggs, and Morris’ preferred brand of fair-trade organic coffee from The Coffee Roaster in West End, which he used for years at the now-defunct Glen’s Espresso coffee cart (also coming across is his trademark honesty-box system).
The result? “A very classy, very stylish, heritage Italian sandwich bar, with a Star Wars theme,” is how Morris describes it.