Michael Ico and Matt Stone are humble about their success in Sydney’s Hills District. Driven by a desire for good coffee in the area, the pair opened The Baron in 2011 and the Tuckshop in 2014. Their latest venture is Good Fella, a coffee-focused venue in Bella Vista.
“We reckon the first shop was a fluke,” Ico says. “It wasn’t easy, but it was fun, so we kept doing it. The second shop went even better, and so far this one is going well.”
Good Fella doesn’t have a full kitchen and the menu is deliberately low maintenance. There are salads, sandwiches, bagels (baked daily in-house) and simple pizzas. “We don’t want to scare people off with the fact that we don’t do a bacon-and-egg roll, but it’s refreshing not having to make that stuff,” he says. A concrete coffee bar is at the centre of the room, and baristas serve up coffee by Single O. For filter, there’s Shakiso, a washed Ethiopian variety with a floral aroma. For espresso, Killer Bee’s sweetness stands up well in milk and doesn’t have a lot of acidity or fruit balms.
“This time around we got the coffee equipment we’ve always hoped for,” he says. That includes a Mavam single group espresso machine, which conceals the mechanics under the bench and showcases just the parts the barista uses: the group head and portafilter, and the steamer.
Just down the road from the Bella Vista Farm where Lil Miss Collins did its highly successful pop-up, Good Fella is hidden away in a corporate enclave. A wooden bench wraps around the shop with square tables evenly spaced in front. “It’s set up so customers are never facing each other,” says Ico.
That doesn’t mean it’s anti-social. Friends and colleagues can sit shoulder to shoulder, watching the baristas at work.
On the name, Ico is quick to say it has nothing to do with the Martin Scorsese cult film of the almost-same name. It’s about four mates opening a cafe together (Daniel Harrison, Troy Cotton both from Baron, and Jono Treacy, are also co-owners).
“We’re trying to build something that’s relaxed and Aussie. We’re just a bunch of boys from out west, you know?” he says. “We want it to be welcoming and fun, not pretentious.”
G07/5 Celebration Drive, Bella Vista
0424 868 274
Mon to Sat 6am–3pm