Old Mate on Crown, by Adi Kelly and her brother in law, Wade Roger, opened a few weeks ago. Kelly spent 10 years working in hospitality (including for the Merivale Group). “I found my strength is customer service. I like talking to people,” she says.

Kelly wanted her cafe to be, “Halfway between a hole-in-the-wall and a sit-down.” The interior is clean and simple, with wooden tables and stools and an open kitchen. “We wanted an open kitchen. I like the idea of being close to the customers, chatting while preparing food, making it feel like it’s a home away from home,” says Kelly. The work of photography students will soon hang on the walls. Classics from the ‘50s to the ‘90s, featuring Elvis, the Rolling Stones and Dire Straits, play from the speakers.

When it comes to food, it’s the same deal: good but simple. “Our motto is that we just want to provide great customer service. We want to be affordable,” says Kelly. Sandwiches are the highlight: the most popular being the Freddie, with sliced roast beef, horseradish mayo, provolone cheese, dill cucumbers and baby spinach. “People refer to the Freddie as a gourmet Big Mac,” says Kelly. Other types include the Con, with prosciutto, pesto, provolone cheese and tomato and the MacDaddy; a chicken-mayo mix with celery and walnuts. All of them are made with Bread and Butter Project sourdough.

Coffee is from Toby’s Estate (and comes with a free shot of vegetable juice), and there are also scrolls from Oregano Bakery.

Old Mate on Crown
328 Crown Street, Surry Hills
0415 054 181

7am–3.30pm daily