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October 27, 2021

Keeping it Fresh

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Fresh Matthew Michaelis

What do you do when you have everything? The spiritually minded could perhaps meditate and become one with the universe – it’s not hard really; apparently you’re not one with the universe until you’ve lived apart from it awhile. You then spend your time concentrating on reuniting with it? Both of me are exhausted just thinking about it, though at least we’re going to be busy pondering these questions.

If the metaphysical is not your bag, then how about relaxing with a book while hanging in a hammock, a cool breeze washing over you; and if all else fails why not buy into a thriving seven-day-a-week cafe?

I once saw an advert for the sale of a cafe/restaurant down on the famous walkway on Circular Quay in Sydney. It was selling on the premise that it was open 24/7, 365 days per year. How much were they asking, do I hear you ask. Considering this was in the 1990s, it was priced in excess of one million dollars. Go figure. A punter like me thought, ‘Why the hay would you want to spend the next years of your life on call all hours? Keep the money and move to Byron Bay.’

Fresh-fish-2Work-life balance and hospitality businesses don’t always align. So, imagine owning a cafe/restaurant that has what seems to be a never-ending flow of patrons. Byron Fresh Cafe in Byron Bay has literally cornered the market when it comes to being in the spot of least resistance for foot traffic.

The Bay Lane and Jonson Street corner would, pound for pound, be as popular a walk-by as the proverbial Pitt Street. Folks from all walks of life pass by on their way up toward the beach or for a Beach Hotel beer or event. When I heard that the owner wanted to get back to the original idea of his Fresh Cafe, natural and healthy menu items, you do wonder why you’d bother changing. Is it that you’ve had too many hungry campers over the years and you’d like to shake it up a little, get some zing back into your relationship with your business?

The truth is, I’m not sure about any of this – I haven’t spoken to the guy who owns the place, so it’s all just postulation at this point really.

When you’ve come across one of the best locations in the Byron Bay area, after a while you must get a little bored with the constant flow of people to-ing and fro-ing. Customers to the left, customers to the right and the notion of position, position, position is revealed in all its glory.

These retail positions are sought after by those in the know and anyone with half a brain. Fresh is fat on the best piece of culinary real estate that you could ever want. It literally corners the market where tourists are concerned. So, for the locals we have the return to its original underlying concept when it was one of the first to do healthy menu choices in the area.

Fresh-cafe-deli-boardThey have the coffee down pat here with a good Campos and competent baristas on hand so, a blow-in or not, you’ll have a great cup here. The new menu has a range that draws from local fresh produce and delivers popular choices that the crowds will approve, no doubt. Breakfast includes the above-mentioned well-made Campos coffee, organic and free-range eggs, freshly squeezed juices and a good concentration of organic products: smashed avo, fresh lime and thick organic sourdough $11; spicy caramelised mushrooms on organic sourdough toast with lemon zest, ricotta and roasted organic tomatoes $11.

Lunch and dinner follow suit with interesting fresh selections (L) zen burger lentils, chick peas, avocado, swiss cheese, tomato, capsicum relish and hummus, organic and gluten-free buns available $15, with fries $18; (L) a fresh deli board – sliced prosciutto, sopressa, marinated olives, hummus, danish feta, roast peppers, eggplant and warm bread $22.

I tried the fish of the day, a grilled salmon cooked well, seared and ‘grilled’ pink – crisp and still moist (usually hard to manage). Dinner I haven’t had though it looks good and includes dishes the likes of: pumpkin and feta frittata with spinach, tomato, grilled turkish bread, pesto and local organic mixed leaves $16 (also a lunch choice); wild rocket, pear and goat cheese $15.50, with prosciutto + balsamic dressing $21; confit Bangalow pork belly with spicy chorizo, caramelised apples, jus and apple puree $31.

Fresh-frittersThe atmosphere itself is fun in that you can walk in and have multiple levels to be seated at. Looking down and over the diners below on street level, or in a booth a step higher, or perhaps watching the parade pass with the flanking corner tables – al fresco or comfy inside spots.

I’m not quite sure why we humans do the things we do sometimes, though I do respect the sheer industry of those who put in the energy and keep it up year after year. This popular place is definitely keeping it ‘Fresh’ for its clientele – 7am until 11pm – seven days per week – 365 days per year.


Byron Fresh Cafe

Fully Licensed

7am-11pm, 7 days
7 Jonson Street (cnr of Bay Lane), Byron Bay

6685 7810

No reservations



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