THE former Cosy Corner Cafe has a new owner who has renamed it The CAPE and applied to add a 120-patron small bar to the premises by Spring.
Proprietor Christina Rooney says she has big plans for the venue, including major renovations.
“Years ago, when I worked down here for [former owner] Robyn [Cotton], we could see the potential for this place as a hub,” she says.
“You know, ‘If I had that place, imagine …’, that sort of conversation which you do when you see a pub or a shop or your local whatever.
“And then, Robyn approached me one day.”
The café changed hands a month or so ago.
Rooney has wasted no time drafting plans for a bar in a TARDIS-like room that furtively sprawls behind the existing cafe space.
She says the cafe’s Tingle poles, and bespoke leadlight window featuring retro Aussie brands and made at the Torbay Glass Studio, will stay.
“I’m not wanting to take away the essence,” she explains.
“I just want to expand its useability and appeal to a wider audience to get that community feel happening.”
Rooney aims to have the bar approved, built and open by Spring.
“People are coming in from everywhere – from the chalets and the cottages here where there’s people from Switzerland and other places overseas, and from Albany, Denmark and Perth,” she says.
There’s a new menu that Rooney says is “directed toward the things that are in our memories that are our favourites for the beach”.
“It’s not fine dining at all,” she expands.
“It’s possibly about getting messy, coming in sandy and leaving messy.”
Rooney has lived in Torbay since 2009, and says she has been “coming and going” from the south coast since 1997.
The CAPE is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, 7am to 7pm, seven days a week.
“We’re doing parmas, fish-and-chips, hamburgers, loaded fries and chips,” she says of the dinner menu.
“We’ve got curries and soups.
“It’s quite diverse; You just come in and see what the specials are.”
Visiting fans of the recently defunct Hog’s Breath Cafe in the Perth party precinct of Northbridge might be forgiven for a flashback or two after Rooney swooped in to purchase furniture from that former food hall.
“We thoroughly scrubbed it all,” she assures.
“The community that helped us with that and has pitched in elsewhere has been huge.
“We had one day of people out on Bobcats, scrubbing, chain-sawing, all local people.”
The café now also sports a noise-reducing, feature Marri ceiling from the Rooney family farm at Manjimup.
Rooney’s budding business does not stop at the café and bar, but extends to a space out the back that’s reserved for consultancies.
“We’ve got massage starting up, which is massage by donation, and there’s been enquiries by other therapists,” she says.
Her three kids – Lily, Freya and Oli – work at the café, among other young Torbay locals.
“One of the driving reasons to take on the café is to have something that I can bring the kids along with, so they can learn all these aspects – hospitality, business, cooking, whatever their forte is, and [my mother] Kaye has come across from Manji too,” Rooney says.