Long ago, three siblings, Fabian, Massimo, and Romina Crea, were washing dishes for pocket money in their grandfather’s hotel kitchen and then aunty’s café. It seemed inevitable that one day the three would forge their own careers in the hospitality industry.
“My brother and I started working in our aunty’s café Santucci’s in the late 90s. We learnt a lot – everyone had to cook, make coffee, serve, and clean. That gave us confidence to open the second Santucci’s, followed by Son of Tucci and Mr Tucci,” says Fabian, Co-Owner of Joe Frank Café.
Joe Frank Café is named after the siblings’ father Joe and grandfather Frank.It was opened in 2019 when the space in Ashburton became available leading the family to seize the opportunity.
“We did everything to make Joe Frank Café happen. It has great light, is cosy inside, and the courtyard has a real ‘wow’ factor. There is also plenty of space for our mum, Franca, to bake,” Fabian says.
Joe Frank Café prides itself on offering wholesome food, traditional cakes, and great coffee. The café serves Veneziano Bond Street as its house blend.
“Bond Street is a real crowd-pleaser. Its flavour profile suits the changing seasons – think vanilla, blueberry, and peach,” Fabian says.
“We have a longstanding relationship with Veneziano. We saw massive growth potential in their company, and we wanted to grow with them – their goals were similar to our goals. They also offer incredible support and facilities.”
The team uses Wood and Co Coffee Roasters as a guest roaster for its black offerings.
The café serves up beverages using a customised La Marzocco Strada and boasts Mahlkönig EK43S and Mazzer Robur S grinders.
“We set out to create an environment where, the moment you walk through that door, you’re greeted, seated, and looked after,” Fabian says.
“Ashburton is very much a family-oriented area and it has a strong community feel. We ensure our customers are treated like family and feel welcomed.”
For its food offering, the café serves up a mix between breakfast and lunch classics, and creative Italian-inspired dishes.
“Our menu is based on wholesome, simple food that’s done really well. We offer generous portions and have great chefs. The most unique offering, though, is mum’s cakes. She hand-makes traditional Italian cakes based on recipes that have been passed on for generations,” Fabian says.
“At Joe Frank we have built an incredible team. We base the café on providing excellent service, food, and coffee. Those are the three pillars we live by.”
Joe Frank Café
246 High Street,
Ashburton, Victoria, 4000
Open Monday to Friday 7am to 3:30pm
Saturday and Sunday 8am to 3pm
(03) 9193 0169