Smashed Gero (on toast): Geraldton’s breakfast scene breaks through

Headshot of Lisa Favazzo
Lisa FavazzoGeraldton Guardian
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AJ's Beach Cafe waitress and milkshake extraordinaire Jay Lamonaca working on the Beresford Foreshore.
Camera IconAJ's Beach Cafe waitress and milkshake extraordinaire Jay Lamonaca working on the Beresford Foreshore. Credit: Lisa Favazzo/The Geraldton Guardian, Lisa Favazzo

Morning sunshine, crashing waves, smashed avo and a warm cup of coffee — it all goes together like salt and pepper, making Geraldton the perfect place for a brekky takeover.

There’s plenty of places serving a good cup of coffee in Geraldton, and more grand openings are on the sun-soaked horizon.

Construction of Kai Lani Cafe on a central beachside location is well under way, only two months after Alex Stellmach’s AJ’s Beach Cafe popped up on the Beresford foreshore.

Mr Stellmach, originally from Germany, said he had always dreamed of running a cafe and, after years working in the hospitality industry, he finally decided to take the plunge.

“It was a dream that took 10 years to achieve... now was just the right time (and) right spot,” he said.

AJ's Beach Cafe owner Alex Stellmach cooking up some German style bratwurst.
Camera IconAJ's Beach Cafe owner Alex Stellmach cooking up some German style bratwurst. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

He said he wanted to help create a culture of good customer service in Geraldton’s culinary scene and that he hired people based on their personalities.

Not every big brekky idea comes from out of town. Flowvitality Cafe owner Renee Doyle said she was “born and bred” in Geraldton. “There is a real cafe culture...the Geraldton community is really open to evolving and the trends sort of dictate that,” she said.

Flowvitality waitress Lauren Mead, cafe owner Renee Doyle and waitress Zoe Angelatos.
Camera IconFlowvitality waitress Lauren Mead, cafe owner Renee Doyle and waitress Zoe Angelatos. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian/Elise Van Aken/Elise Van Aken

Ms Doyle said she was good friends with many other cafe owners in town. “We all have our own thing as well that sets us apart and I find that’s really respected and supported,” she said.

Mid West Chamber of Commerce chief executive Joanne Fabling has also been blown away by the breakfast and brunch options she has indulged in since moving back to town three years ago.

She said the toughest part of going to brunch was deciding which venue’s view to enjoy as the food was consistently spectacular, and it was impossible to let your taste buds down.

Although she grew up in Geraldton, she spent a few decades away, and, when Ms Fabling returned, she discovered an “urban metropolis” in place of her humble hometown.

“The perception of Geraldton is changing,” she said.

She said the city’s brekky breakthrough was due to State and local government investment in the foreshore area, which included ditching the train line that ran between the beach and the main strip.

Ms Fabling said the Geraldton of her childhood was “faced away” from the sparkling turquoise foreshore which the new CBD layout embraced.

Mayor Shane Van Styn agreed, labelling the foreshore the “jewel of our city”. “We’re extremely proud of Geraldton’s transformation as well as the innovative and top-notch businesses that make our cafe scene what it is,” he said.

Brekky reviews incoming

Geraldton Guardian journalist Lisa Favazzo
Camera IconGeraldton Guardian journalist Lisa Favazzo Credit: Kate Campbell/The Geraldton Guardian, Kate Campbell

Geraldton Guardian journalist Lisa Favazzo will be giving you her take on the local brekky scene over the next several weeks. A tough job, but somebody has got to do it. If there’s a local brekky menu item you consider a must-try, let us know through our social media or news@geraldtonnewspapers.com.au.

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