Jr Morse owner Jon Costelloe fondly describes the east end of Johnston Street as ‘tumbleweed territory’, but it clearly won’t stay that way for long.

He’s riding a slow but steady shift in this part of Abbotsford, with his new cafe sitting alongside notable newcomers such as Rita’s Cafeteria, and Admiral Cheng-Ho. Along with co-owner Anth Daniel (owner of The Vic Bar and The Aviary) and general manager Pete Walsh, (previously of The Vic Bar and B.East), Costelloe is helping to turn the lesser-known side of Hoddle Street from cultural wasteland to destination of choice.

Jr Morse is currently a neat window tucked underneath Victoria Park Station, serving specialty coffee – think single-origin iced lattes, cold drip or chai, as well as the usual suspects – offering a moment of zen to commuters en route to, or off route from the station.

Patrons with more time can order breakfast or lunch to take-away, or sit outside (on milk crates, for now – permission for outdoor seating is pending) to sample the breakfast and lunch menu. In the morning, select from bircher muesli, hash browns or perhaps a specialty jaffle of smoked ham hock and manchego cheese, or peppery salami, roasted capsicum and provolone. A must try for lunch is the organic quinoa salad with avocado, corn, pomegranate and pistachio nuts for a superfood trifecta.

Keep your eye on this venue. In mid March it will graduate to Dr Morse Bar & Eatery after just over a year of renovations, during which a Dr Morse Root Pills for Indigestion sign was discovered, believed to be from the early 1900s. It’s just one of many original features of the building the owners are incorporating into the final design.

A beer garden is planned for between now and the official opening, which should see thirstier punters through another month.

Jr Morse
274 Johnston Street, Abbotsford (underneath Victoria Park station)
(03) 9416 1005

Mon to Fri 7am–3pm
Sat & Sun 8am–3pm