For this instalment of our Cafes That Are Killing It series, we are heading back to Melbourne to visit Eeny Meeny cafe in Frankston. Here we spoke to Chef Robbie Wright about what makes the Eeny Meeny cafe an inspiring, responsible and downright delicious place to visit!
Eeny Meeny cafe is known for its creation of delicious and creative food, fantastic service and a strong sense of community and connection. It provides an oasis from the street with its eclectic decor and relaxing courtyard.
As we all know, cafes around Melbourne faced incredible difficulties throughout Stage 4 lockdown last year. But the team at Eeny Meeny Cafe took this challenge as an opportunity to better their business. Chef Robbie Wright explains they took this time to reflect upon the business and craft a much better approach to sustainability and the environment, and emerged from lockdown as a much stronger business.
One result of this big thought process was a localisation of their supply chains. The team formed a great connection with local peninsula farms who provide access to a variety of fresh ingredients, and all the cafe’s milk and cultured butter travels from a farm just 36km away to reach them.
The “COVID think tank”, as Chef Robbie creatively terms it, produced connections with local community gardens and councils with a goal to minimise the cafe’s waste and impact on the environment. Used coffee grounds are now sent to a nearby community garden to be used in worm farms and compost. And the Eeny Meeny team is working on a plan with the Downs Community Farm to have all the cafes vegetable scraps composted in return for food products from their community garden. To top it off, this community group is working with Melbourne University to create an indigenous farm on a commercial scale, and Chef Robbie plans to utilise these native, indigenous, local products in the cafe! A further waste reduction initiative discovered during COVID was a company in Dandenong whereby used cooking oil can be dropped off (for free), and is then highly filtered – with the oil sent off to make a biofuel and the food scraps composted to become fertiliser.
Eeny Meeny also has a number of circular initiatives within the cafe. They use retub for food takeaway and take part in their reswap program, have reusable coffee cups on sale and offer a discount to customers using any reusable cups, encourage the use of people’s own containers for takeaway, and have a stockpile of opshop cutlery for people to take to avoid using plastic cutlery on the go.
As a long-standing member of Responsible Cafes, Chef Robbie says the best thing about our organisation is all the information and constant education it provides. Our fact sheet on alternative milks is one he found particularly useful to share with staff to confidently promote oat milk with all customers who are a little unsure on where to go with alternative milks, backed by the knowledge that oat milk is best for a sustainable future.
So that wraps up another incredible cafe that is killing it with sustainability! For lovers of food, coffee and the environment, Eeny Meeny cafe is one to look out for. And not only that, it provides inspiration for incredible initiatives that like-minded cafes can take on board!