Drive through North Perth at lunchtime, and you'll spot a group of people on the corner of Fitzgerald and Forrest streets. It looks like a crowd waiting for a gig at a small music venue, alive with energy and anticipation. But it's not a Friday night at The Rosemount (although if you go on a Sunday morning you will see a live jazz band playing on the corner). It's another day at Satchmo, which moved two doors down from its original site last month.
People are leaning on prams enjoying a chat, others are sitting by their dogs reading the paper. The place is as busy as ever, says owner Nathan Karnovsky.
While cooking in the kitchen (he's a victim of the chef shortage), he peers over the pass every once in a while to survey his new surroundings. “This feels right,” he tells Broadsheet. “It's what we always hoped Satchmo would feel like, the amount of food going out, the buzz. It's like we were always meant to be here.”
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It’s the community vibe that made the original Satchmo so magical, and the new space continues to nurture neighbourhood relationships. Whether waiting for a takeaway order outside, sitting at the window with a coffee (the same Twin Peaks roast), or chatting with friends over eggs, you'll likely lock eyes with someone you know.
“The locals have become more social,” says Karnovsky. “It's nice to see how many people say hello to each other every morning.”
Already an established Perth favourite, it's no surprise Satchmo reopened to a line out the door. But the busyness is also due to increased capacity. It went from holding 34 people to welcoming in 46. Now you can come with a group of 10 and be a bit more likely to get a table for brunch (remember to book first).
The new menu is a hit, too. Especially the meatball hoagie with pepperoni sugo and three cheeses, and the rooster roll with Southern-style pulled chicken and stuffing sauce – both on crusty rolls. The crowd-favourite Reuben is still the most popular meal. And the team is about to roll out weekly specials.
“We have a lot of ideas in the works, and we'll be experimenting for our, and of course, our customers', enjoyment,” says Karnovsky. This weekend, it’s a katsu curry chicken roll. Next up: a Puerto Rican sandwich.
Another new addition: Satchmo will soon have a liquor license (“The space feels right for drinks," says Nathan) plus more non-alcoholic beverages.
Satchmo 2.0 retains what was good about the original venue – comfort, familiarity, community – but takes Nathan's vision even further. With the high ceilings, recycled timber and gorgeous morning light, the cafe feels warm and welcoming.
Karnovsky did most of the fit-out himself with help from local furniture restorer, Benskys Vintage. He also enlisted Dream Neon to install custom neon signs, including one welcoming locals on Forrest Street and signalling the new coffee window.
“Everyone loves the new space,” he says. “Regulars say it feels like the diner I always described. You hope people appreciate your vision, so it's a great feeling when they do.”
Mon to Sat 7am–3pm