Kenmore’s The Single Guys is that rare cafe that could be called an “institution” without exaggeration. It’s packed with locals, diehard regulars and coffee lovers who are happy to drive out of their way for a winning mix of top-notch customer service and quality caffeine.
But what happens when owner Janey Guo takes that cozy suburban attitude and applies it to a new Single Guys outpost, on Charlotte Street deep in the CBD? It turns out, people still love it. “We came into it thinking that maybe there’d be a different vibe, that people might not be as friendly in the city,” cafe manager Jason Field says. “I think that can be true when cafes treat their customers in kind of a mechanical, cold way. But we knew we wanted to treat everyone like a regular, and they’ve been really responding to that.”
Still, there are a few differences that set the two stores apart, Field says. “We’ve taken a few core ideas from Kenmore, and we use the same coffee (a house blend from former owner Ben Graham’s Parallel Roasters rotates, with guest blends and at least two types of filter daily), but there’s a really different menu and a different look.” Field says.
The food offering is brief but still delivers creative takes on breakfast favourites. Fried eggs on rye are heightened by capers, gorgonzola and sobrassada. Sweet fans can’t go past the combo of waffles, honeycomb, grilled banana and ice-cream.
With a completely glass shopfront, clean lines dominate the new store’s look, designed by Studio Lagom’s Will Ryan. “It’s very minimalist and focused on good lighting,” Field says. “There’s really nowhere to hide, and we like that.”
The Single Guys
301 Charlotte Street, Brisbane
Mon to Fri 6.30am–3.30pm