By: Vivienne Pearson
If I were writing this as a work of fiction, Tully would be the name of a dog; a much-loved dog that eats a lot.
For, you see, it was a dog (a much-loved dog that eats a lot) that was the catalyst for two key aspects of the creation of Tullys Café, a newcomer on the Suffolk Park scene.
Co-owner of Tullys, Michael Smith, who has lived a stone’s throw from Suffolk Park’s pint-sized shopping centre for more than a decade, found himself increasingly aware of the need for more good food options in the area. He had his eye on a great spot for a cafe. It was while buying food for his dog-that-isn’t-called-Tully at the SPAR supermarket that he noticed the place was for lease.
Along with business partner, Morgan Richards, he feels fortunate to end up as the frontrunner out of several groups with similar ideas. Michael and Morgan are both builders – Michael of houses and Morgan of ships – and had already teamed up to do shop fit-outs (including The Bolt Hole and the Mez Club). So, while they had the necessary skills for the considerable renovation they took on, they needed other hands on deck for the core work of the cafe.
This is where, like a good literary device, the hungry-but-not-called-Tully dog comes into the story again. It was again while shopping for dog food (clearly a regular event in Michael’s life) that he spotted Rhys Badcock, the winner of Masterchef: The Professionals. The dog must have effected a good introduction as Rhys is now one of two chefs at Tullys (the other is Jasper Tervenski, formerly of The Balcony).
The combined team is a winner. Tullys is an attractive cafe with an indoor-outdoor feel thanks to outdoor seating and french windows that frame a stunning backdrop of the Tallow Creek forest. The food is top notch and creative, with adventurous specials thrown in (‘It could be an American burger one day and fish tacos the next,’ says Michael).
Currently open for breakfast/brunch, this is set to change. ‘We’re looking to start opening nights – we’ve just had our liquor licence approved,’ says Michael. ‘We want to be the place serving healthy, good food that locals can come to without having to drive into Byron – all year round, but especially in summer with all the traffic.’
I can now reveal that Tully is the name of Morgan’s nephew. ‘He’s four and a really cool little kid,’ says Michael. ‘I won’t lie, we found it really hard to choose a name for the cafe – we spent days and days before we decided that it doesn’t have to mean anything serious and we didn’t have to name it something like ‘Suffolk Corner’. We like Tullys – it’s short, it gets quickly locked into people’s brains. And the real Tully is pretty stoked – he loses it when he sees his name in big letters on the counter!’
And, in case there are any grammar pedants out there critiquing this article, I have not been remiss; there is no apostrophe in Tullys. Lucky this is a Good Life article, not an assessment piece for HSC English.
It is a shame it isn’t a work of fiction though. As much as I’m sure I’d love Tully-the-boy if I met him, I’d be happier if Tullys were named after the-big-eating-dog.
Tullys, Shop 12A, 3 Clifford Street, Suffolk Park.
Open 7am for breakfast and lunch.
Facebook / Instagram: @Tullys
Tullys crew: (L–R) Michael Smith, Morgan Richards, Jasper Tervenski, Nathan Rompotis, Rhys Badcock.