We all have fond memories of the school tuckshop. Imagine you can experience it all over again, but this time as an adult. That’s the idea at Milk Box Coffee and Tuckshop, which has shifted into a small shipping container on Alfred Street, previously occupied by Contraband Coffee, serving Gabriel espresso and house-baked goods.
“I remember the old days going up to the window and getting your lunch and shit like that,” says owner Daniel Quinn. “The ol’ peanut butter roll for 50 cents.”
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), peanut butter rolls aren’t on the menu at Milk Box, but there is a cabinet full of comfort food for grown-ups: sandwiches, salads and treats, the selection changing daily. You can expect options such as roast pumpkin and quinoa salad, bacon and egg rolls, turkey and cranberry sandwiches, mini banana loaves, and caramel slices, all prepped in-house each day.
The smart design can be credited to Quinn’s partner Sarah Vize, who has jazzed up the black container with timber elements, flashes of white and a scattering of greenery. Vize was actually the reason Quinn left his hometown of Sydney 18 months ago.
Keeping with his New South Wales roots, Quinn decided to use Sydney-based Gabriel Coffee, a popular choice among cafes south of the border but yet to make a splash up here. “I’ve been going to Gabriel for years,” Quinn says. “The company is huge in Sydney and they are striving to get into the Queensland market.”
Milk Box Coffee and Tuckshop quietly opened at the end of February but Quinn is expecting things to get busier once the huge Gurner apartments are finished across the road. “We’re right behind the new development, which has  units going in,” he says. “The idea is to cater for that when it opens. For now, we are setting it up and getting it running.”
Milk Box Coffee and Tuckshop
170 Alfred Street, Fortitude Valley
Mon to Fri: 5.15am–3pm