Tribute Coffee and Kitchen. Regular Coffee Company. Paper Avenue. Just some of the cafes pushing the specialty coffee barrow in suburbia. Joining the party late last year was Alex Junior, tucked into an abandoned Padbury shopping centre bakery. Just eight weeks after opening, the small cafe was serving 300 customers a day.

Alex Junior is the brainchild of hospitality veteran Kieran Cromb and pharmacist Steve Litas. The two met at Leederville cafe Cranked that Cromb co-owned and Litas was a regular customer at. The pair reconnected some years later when the situation was reversed.

“I moved into the area six years ago, and saw a familiar face behind the counter when I walked into the Padbury Pharmacy,” says Cromb. “I told Steve that this little centre was dying for a cafe. We only had to wait a few years and the Brumby’s next door came up.”

The coffee is from Dunsborough roaster The Cape Effect, owned by husband and wife team Ben and Nicole Willis. Cromb, formerly WA State Manager of Di Bella Coffee, helped friend and ex-co-worker Ben develop the brand.

“When I joined Di Bella I was able to help him with purchasing a roaster and beans to finer details like blend development and roasting technique,” says Cromb. “His brand vision is all about ‘less is more’. He doesn’t want to take over the world, he just wants to deal with likeminded people and pay homage to the coffee.”

In keeping with the pharmacy co-environment, Alex Junior offers a range of organic and low-sugar syrups from Soda Press Co, a sustainability-focused company founded in New Zealand.

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“We wanted a lot of our food and beverages to reflect low-sugar and organic choices, and low environmental impact where possible,” says Cromb. “We run a sparkling water system off our reverse osmosis system, so we can offer lemonade and cola through the Soda Press system using their syrups.”

The syrups are also added to cold-brew coffee in a range of signature “spritzers”. Cromb and Litas decided not to install a full kitchen: instead, food is sourced from local suppliers including Biggie & Smalls Co, Mumma’s Sweet Lies, Woodfire Italian Restaurant and Burns Beach Cafe. The Sugarless Bakery supplies a range of gluten-free and paleo items to the table.

Alex Junior Espresso
Shop 13, Padbury Shopping Centre Corner of Warburton and Leichhardt avenues, Padbury WA 6025

Mon-Fri 6am-4pm
Sat & Sun 7am-1pm