Walk into Balaclava’s All Things Equal and you’re met with a quality cafe that resembles most others in the suburb: the coffee is good, the menu is accessible – a little cheffy in places – and the seats are reliably occupied around breakfast and lunchtime.

But under the hood, there’s an innovative concept at work: from the front-of-house to the kitchen, All Things Equal is half staffed by people with a disability. And while many businesses offer unpaid work experience to those who require accommodations for their disability, All Things Equal provides award-rate employment and a positive work environment that’s safe, inclusive and, above all, fun.

It’s all part of a bigger mission (which also involves a cooking school, ice-cream truck and a Sunday canteen at the Ajax Junior Football Club in South Caulfield) to show the wider community that people living with a disability are not only capable, but should be fairly compensated for their work and given a chance to earn an income in a dignified way, with adequate support from their employer.

When Broadsheet visits, the menu featured chilli scramble with vegan XO; shakshuka with eggs, labneh and pita; and smashed avo with almond dukkah, spiced feta and tomato salsa. Paired with coffee by Mornington Peninsula roaster Prodigal, this is an unassuming cafe that’s equal to – or better than – plenty of spots around town.

All Things Equal is holding its first ever giving day on Sunday May 15, 2022. Donations will go towards building a ramp for wheelchair access, kitchen upgrades and more. Please give generously here.

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Updated: May 12th, 2022

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