Homemade food and fast-paced friendly service is the experience one receives when visiting Against The Grind café, located in the central city suburb of Neutral Bay.
Managing Director John Lepouris has upheld the family business for the past five years after his father developed an apartment building with the café located on the ground floor.
“I co-founded the company with two baristas who worked at my local coffee shop: Davide Crespi and Hoky Michael. While we started the business together and had a great relationship, last year the boys moved on to their own ventures, and I now head-up the café on my own,” John says.
Located just a few doors down from Military Road, Against The Grind has a stylish European fit-out with a curved timber wall feature, long terrazzo benches, and hanging ferns.
One of its most unique features is its open plan design, with no counter tops separating staff from customers.
“We didn’t want the café to have any barriers. We want people to come in and feel like they are having a coffee with friends,” John says.
Having grown the business exponentially, John was able to expand the café to include the shop next door, integrating a deli into the space.
“Our deli is stocked with award-winning chorizo, house made taramosalata, and we also make a range of paninis fresh to each order in house,” John says.
His love of Asian culture has strongly influenced the café menu, with staple favourite the Brekky Fried Rice, including Chinese style fried rice and lap cheong (Chinese cured sausage).
“I wanted to incorporate something different into our menu. Now it’s a highlight among customers, and I think that’s one of my favourite dishes too,” John says.
These are all presented beside Campos Coffee’s Superior Blend, a coffee the café has served since its opening in 2017.
“We chose Campos because we wanted to deliver exceptional coffee to our consumers,” says John.
Alongside the usual flat whites and cappuccinos, Against The Grind serves up a quadruple shot coffee called the ‘brutale’ (Italian for brutal) which includes two shots of Campos Superior blend espresso and two shots of Campos single origin.
“You would be surprised how many people come in at 7.30am and say, ‘I need a brutale,’” says John.
“Providing that energy source for my customers is the most rewarding part of the job.”
Against The Grind
9 Young Street,
Neutral Bay, New South Wales, 2089
Open Monday 6:30am – 2pm, Tuesday to Saturday 6:30am – 3:30pm and Sunday 7am – 2pm
(02) 9953 5896
This article appears in the April 2022 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.