In 2015, Venus Wholefoods’ founders Michelle Hughes and Tim David set up shop in The Stables precinct where their healthy lunchtime fare earned a loyal following. Eighteen months later, Venus has outgrown its first home.
Hughes says she jumped at the opportunity to move into a new street-facing space literally across the road. The new cafe has double the seating capacity of the old space and has a much larger kitchen, which has allowed them to shut down a second, off-site kitchen used for catering. “Now everything is made here,” she says.
Hughes and David designed and built the new cafe themselves, which took three months. “We’ve got the sun in the morning, outdoor and indoor seating, and two really cool exposed-concrete walls that we didn’t know were here until we pulled a wall down,” says Hughes, who wanted the new space to have a fresh, clean aesthetic without being too rustic. The new fit-out features concrete, tiles and greenery. “There’s lots of foliage,” she says. “We love our plants.”
The new store is already busy (it opened yesterday) thanks to a new grab-and-go style fridge and a large salad bar for which David will continue to create his seasonal salads. More vegan options will be added to the menu, too, including plant-based versions of classic meat dishes: vegan chicken schnitzel; jackfruit pulled pork; walnut mince; and a veggie sausage.
Venus will continue to serve Single Origin Roasters coffee and its signature, feel-good smoothies, including Love (banana, kale, spinach, coconut milk, chia seeds, super greens), Friendship (banana, mixed berries, almond milk, maca powder) and Empowerment (banana, almond milk, cacao, mint, chia seeds).
“We’ve built a really good customer base here in Surry Hills,” she says. “Tim and I live in the apartment above our new space, so we know everyone around here. It’s a really tight-knit community.”