Smooth-e must have been the only place on Chapel Street closed on Grand Final Friday and most of Saturday. It was for good reason – the cafe’s co-owners have either played for the Western Bulldogs, managed them, or are currently on the roster.
One co-owner took home the Norm Smith Medal.
Premiership champ Jason Johannisen, independent player manager Lachlan Collins and ex-Bulldog James Mulligan opened the business under the name Home of Nutrition in July 2015, then changed it to Smooth-e in April this year. You’d never know the health-focused cafe – which serves a big list of salads, sandwiches, juices and 50ml “energiser” shots with maca, pear and cardamom – was the lovechild of footy culture.
“Within the first year of having Smooth-e I learned so much more [about nutrition], which has definitely been a key factor in my performances each week,” Johannisen says. “Without taking care of my body I couldn’t do what I do.”
Mulligan retired from the Bulldogs in 2012 and now runs The Fit Centre in Maribyrnong. He and Collins’s nutrition-savvy partner, Ella, created the menu together. “Having come out of an elite sporting environment I couldn’t imagine doing or thinking about anything else,” says Mulligan.
Johannisen says his favourite item on the menu is the Green Hulk smoothie, with banana, spinach, mint, cacao nibs, spirulina and almond milk.