It was a sad day for South Melbourne when beloved Austro Bakery closed in March this year. The bakery – known for its focaccia, danishes and Austrian-inspired baked goods like linzertorte (a latticed tart with a hazelnut frangipane and cherry filling) and sachertorte (a rich, layered chocolate cake with apricot jam and chocolate ganache) – had been a Cecil Street fixture since 2018.

Owners Sally Roxon and Christian Gattermayr continued to operate Austro’s wholesale business when the South Melbourne store closed, supplying the likes of Cam’s Kiosk, Assembly and the two cafes co-owned by their daughter Dom Gattermayr, Florian and Juniper.

Since the end of last year, Austro’s production has been based in Natalie Paull’s former Beatrix production space in North Melbourne. Last weekend, the team launched a retail offering there with a decidedly tight selection of goods.

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“What I have learnt over the years, if you try to do too many things, sometimes it means everything ends up being a little mediocre. Sometimes it’s best to have the main product and perfect that, as opposed to trying to make everything for everyone,” Roxon tells Broadsheet.

Austro stopped making sourdough while still in South Melbourne and began focusing its bread offering on focaccia. In addition to slabs of fluffy focaccia, you’ll also find croissants, maritozzi (Italian sweet cream buns) filled with fruit preserves and caramel cream, and new Austro items including karpatka, a Polish cream pie that the team describes as an eclair cake.

The retail space has been recently refurbished with a fresh coat of Yves Klein blue paint and a wooden backdrop behind the counter creating an inviting atmosphere, softened from the building’s inherently industrial feel.

The pair are focused on making this new iteration as sustainable as possible. “We are planning at the moment just to only open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays from 8am to 1pm, with a view to potentially open Thursdays, and not Sundays out of sheer unaffordability,” Roxon says, referring to the higher award wages that venues must pay staff on Sundays.

Roxon also emphasises the business’s commitment to staff wellbeing, and timely payments to suppliers and landlords, as key business tenets.

“I’m really looking for that sweet spot where staff and owners and customers can live happy lives and can make enough money to do that, which I believe is so important right now in this current climate,” she says. “It’s more to the point that I want staff to enjoy being at work.”

Austro Bakery
39 Lothian Street, North Melbourne
No phone

Hours:
Fri & Sat 8am–1pm

www.austrobakery.com