A chance encounter led Sammy Bizarro to open his first cafe. The industry veteran has worked with some big names in Sydney’s food scene, including whole-fish-cooking pioneer Josh Niland and the team behind The Boathouse empire. Opening his own venue was always the plan, but it took a surprise meeting to find the right location. “I actually worked at a very popular French restaurant in Avalon called Bistro Boulevard,” Bizarro tells Broadsheet. “That’s where I met the owners of Careel Bay Marina – I was serving their table.”
Three months later, he opened the eponymous Sammy’s, getting into a groove before this summer’s inevitable uptick. The cafe, which Bizarro describes as a “hole in the wall”, has become a favourite among keen sailors. And with its spectacular water views, it’s a destination that’s worth a day trip.
The menu is succinct and satisfying, with jaffles, bagels and avocado toast. The focus is on simple, organic produce, sourced primarily from suppliers Bizarro has gathered throughout his years in the industry. “I love the kitchen, I love food and I really like talking to people,” Bizarro says. “We try to offer an experience – I always wanted it to be more than a cafe.”
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There are four jaffle options: bacon and egg; a classic ham and cheese; a simple tuna; and one stuffed with bolognaise made by Bizarro’s wife, Lauren. The bagel is New York-style, with smoked salmon, cream cheese and watercress. Both bread and bagels are supplied by the award-winning Bonfire Bread. There’s Single O coffee, Japanese tea (an homage to his mother’s heritage) and cold-pressed juices. Takeaway picnic baskets and another venue are in the works, too.
Bizarro is originally from Brazil, where he started his lifelong hospitality career at a small beach shack owned by his aunt. He moved to Australia when he was 18, gaining years of experience before finally stepping out on his own. “I was very lucky, I ended up working with some very cool people,” Bizarro says. “All the friends that I gathered in those restaurants, the suppliers I’m using – everyone actually helped me.”
Above all, the waterfront venue is a family undertaking. “I couldn’t do this without the help of my partner,” he says. “It’s ‘Sammy’s’ but it’s actually more like ‘Lauren and Sammy’s’.”
94 George Street, Avalon Beach
0474 372 751