Henri Marc, located just off Penrith’s main strip, is run by husband-and-wife team Sophia and Aaron Bernecki. After living and working in the city, these chefs-by-trade moved home to Penrith to discover there was a dire need for a good cafe.
“We got tired of making the trek into the city on weekends for good coffee and food. Then we thought, we could do this,” says co-owner Sophia.
Less than two years later they’ve already taken over a shop next door as an extra storeroom, added bench seating outside and are now renovating the other shop next door to extend the dining space. “Since opening on Sundays, we’ve seen even more people coming from afar. We can’t believe it .”
The cafe’s rustic industrial interior, complete with polished-concrete floors, exposed brick and a rusty garage roller door, was sourced from their family farm in Mulgoa and constructed by Sophia and her dad over six months. Henri Marc’s all-day menu, features favourites such as caramel on toast (we recommend sharing this between two people) and poached egg with chorizo, mushrooms and parmesan on sourdough. It’s simple but high quality, with Reuben Hills coffee and Brasserie Bread.
“It’s all about being authentic and coming from a really honest place. We’ve made a cafe that we would want to go to - out west.” Passionate about food and their business, the Bernecki’s are excited to be expanding into the shop next door and bringing change to the Penrith area. “We want to change the culture around Penrith. There’s this (incorrect) perception that it’s all VBs and bogans – it’s not. It’s a growing city, there a lot of people here who live here and love a good coffee and want to eat good food.
And the name? “We get asked that question a lot,” Sophia says. “Who is Henri Marc? He’s someone and he’s no one. Like the cafe, he can be anything to anyone. And we want it like that.”