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Byron Shire
May 26, 2024

The Empire goes nights

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Front: Head chef Thomas Devivo, Chef Dylan Cashman (sitting on sofa) Back: Owners Iris & Hearty Nauss Photo Jeff Dawson
Front: Head chef Thomas Devivo, Chef Dylan Cashman (sitting on sofa) Back: Owners Iris & Hearty Nauss. Photo Jeff Dawson

A Mullumbimby icon since 1945, the Empire Cafe is well-known as the place to go for milkshakes, breakfasts, delicious burgers and other tasty lunch options.

Now the venue is moving into a new era; from now on the cafe will also be open for dinner from Mondays till Saturdays.

New head chef Thomas Devivo, formerly of The Northern in Byron Bay, has been on board since May. Owners Iris and Heartmut Nauss say that with Thomas and his great kitchen team they can finally follow their dream of creating the cozy yet urban environment of a hip deluxe burger bar; a style that they say is currently booming in popularity in the US and as well in Europe.

They recently renovated the whole place with love, and turned it into a trendy yet laidback venue. There are interesting little touches where the plaster has been taken off to reveal the old red brick walls underneath. The recently installed oak floor was gifted to the cafe by the Uplift Festival; it was formerly the basketball court at the Byron Sports Centre, and the owners say it has retained some beautiful energies.

Visiting the cafe last weekend the kids loved spotting the photographs of iconic street signs they recognised from around Mullumbimby.

Chef Thomas Devivo has exercised his creativity with the aim of creating the ‘best deluxe burgers in the Shire’, and the successful day-time offerings will be refined for the evening.

Thirteen deluxe burger creations (meat, fish/seafood and vegetarian options) with such interesting names as The Godfather, Point Break and Jack Sparrow are on the evening menu. In addition there are various yummy entrees to share, hearty nachos variations, healthy salads and desserts.

On weekends the Empire will regularly host local and international DJs, as well as some live music, starting with a fixed set from DJ Aqua (Bay FM) every two weeks on Saturdays!

Reservations for groups of six or over are recommended, and feel free to bring your beer or wine as the Empire is BYO (corkage is $2 per person). In the future, the owners hope to build the Empire into a nice cocktail venue.

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