CheekyChinos is a parent’s slice of heaven and sanity all in one.
Nestled among the vibrant café and market culture of South Melbourne in Victoria, the glistening reflection of the retro green La Marzocco machine entices customers into the café as eyes wonder among the pristine white furnishings and the vibrant touch of detailed artwork on the walls.
Pam Bucca is the owner of the child-friendly café that caters to the multi-tasking, working parent looking for ‘me time’ and a great cup of coffee. With two children of her own, Pam understands the demand for busy parents who still want a quality café experience with space for the kids to unleash their creativity.
Pam, a former aviation Consultant, says she has always loved the café culture. “This has become my business focus, I wanted to establish something parents deserve to experience,” Pam
says. She saw a similar concept in Switzerland where she was living, before returning to Australia in search of the perfect venue to start her dream café.
“The café is much more than just a kid-friendly space, it’s a parents place,” Pam says. “Kid-friendly venues don’t have to include the typical broken toys and sandpit-type environment. This café is a stylish time-out for parents who can come in to do a business report, spend time with their kids and enjoy a nice coffee.”
The venue has a baby change room and pram-friendly access with play area designed specifically with developmental, engaging and enjoyable play features for kids aged up to five years. The café also offers a facilitor in the play centre to help entertain kids while parents take a well-earned time out. This service is $10 for half an hour or $15 for an hour.
Using Allpress Supremo, Espresso and Decaf blends with Jonesy’s milk, head barista James Stanton can be seen working hard to serve parents a rejuvenating coffee. Pam’s attitude to the coffee presentation is simple. “While I appreciate good latte art it doesn’t matter what it looks like unless it tastes great!” she says.
The café serves a range of teas and hot chocolates with orange chocolate and mint flavourings, as well as a menu of babycinos, including the Princess Chino, Sport Chino and Rainbow Chino.
The menu is European inspired and offers healthy options for kids and parents, including CheekyChinos favourite – Gruffalo’s Lunch, a tasting plate of shaved ham, swiss cheese, crunchy veggie sticks, hummus and apples slices.
Strangely enough, Pam says this menu item is more popular for the parents rather than kids because they feel assured they’re giving their child something healthy to eat. Other menu items include the Toasted schiacciata, Bircher Muesli, The Vespa and Caprese. All items are simple and tasty, using high quality produce.
When the doors close for the day, Pam reflects on the challenges of running a café. “It’s a learning curve, but I love the compliments from customers who recognise that the business is something worthwhile,” she says.