Happy River Cafe
Happy River Cafe has one of the best views in Melbourne. The bluestone building is on a hill overlooking the Maribyrnong River and the city, away from the bustle of Footscray.
The interior, renovated by owners Sue McDonald and Sharman Williamson, is inspired by both the Footscray community and McDonald’s trips to Bali. It’s warm and welcoming, with batik-fabric and sarongs adorning the tables, and parquetry wood panelling above the kitchen. It gives the place a distinct East-meets-West look, a fusion that extends to the food.
Happy River does breakfast in a big way, with an extensive and fully customisable menu, including all the breakfast classics. Other dishes include salads and toasted pides with fillings such as gorgonzola, artichoke hearts and rocket; and a fried tempeh wrap.
Williamson and McDonald source most of their produce from the nearby Footscray Markets, preferring to peruse the selection of fruit and veg themselves.
Happy River has a reputation for being family friendly because it always tries to make all of its visitors comfortable. That includes the gallery cat, FCat, who wanders between the cafe and the Footscray Community Arts Centre next door.