When it comes to running a café, Roger El-Awar has one simple philosophy: give the customers what they want. That maxim has served him well since opening his second Fresco-Bah on Pirie Street in September.
“There’s about 1400 people working in the building and they were after something new and fresh,” Roger says. “Our café has a very homely, authentic kind of feel to it. We’ve got the ladies making fresh, home cooked meals and our menu changes pretty much every day. We back that up with fast service and great food and coffee.”
The foyer-based original café on Pulteney Street doesn’t catch as much foot traffic as the new street facing site, but Roger was still able to build a large following that encouraged him to expand the business.
“I was actually approached by customers at our other store that mentioned this space was vacated and asked me if I’d think about opening something in the spot. Because we have such a loyal clientele base at the first store, I decided to open a second rather than relocate,” he says.
“We committed to this place just before COVID hit, then afterwards, still made the decision to go ahead with it, but delayed the timing of opening by about six months. It was a bit of a gusty move, but it’s been rewarding and I definitely don’t regret it.”
Fresco-Bah serves Crave from Veneziano Coffee Roasters for its house blend, alongside single origins for cold brew and black coffee.
“Before I went ahead with Crave, we had a few tastings and decided we needed something strong, with the kick a lot of our corporate customers are after,” Roger says.
“We’ve been partnered with Veneziano for the last two years and they’ve been really good to us. Our rep Peter is very hands on, you call him, he’s there and will make things happen. They’ve also got a top of the range training facility at their warehouse in North Adelaide where the head trainer Mike [Wells] trains all of our staff. It’s all helped us grow our business.”
Roger says he has enjoyed seeing people be receptive to the new café.
“I had a vision with this café and completely changed the way the previous fit out looked,” he says. “I had a blank canvas to work with, put my ideas together and before you knew it, it all came into shape.”
151 Pirie Street, Adelaide, South Australia 5000
Open Monday to Friday 6:30am to 4pm
(08) 8359 2224
This article appears in the June 2021 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.