Streat Cafe Feature Image

Streat Cafe Melbourne – Coolest Cafe in the World

Most cafes make money. Sure, they make food, provide differing degrees of service, provide a venue for catch-ups and a lot of them provide wifi to surf the net and read great articles like this one. Streat Cafe Melbourne do something else. This almost decade young enterprise provides training, life-skills and hands-on hospitality experience for homeless youths.

 

Streat Cafe Melbourne

Luke, one of the nicest hospitality workers we met during our time in Melbourne (and check out that sweet mo!)

 

We got off the tram at Newmarket stop, swiped the electronic travel card my sister had provided us with across the graffiti-stained monitors and trundled our suitcases down the peeling wooden steps. The hot air’s fingers caressed my dry hair and coaxed the sweat out of my dehydrated pores as we walked through the township, past policemen on horses, a group of Somalian men smoking outside their store, the famous Laksa King, busy House of Dumplings and a public toilet that could win Most Effective Use of Smell in Melbourne.

 

Despite the picture I’m subjectively painting, Newmarket/Flemington/Kensington is charming. Trams bundle past and people nod at you with a smile; it’s like walking through 1940s New York, or at least how they make it look in films.

Traveling since 4:30am had left us bleary, blurred and hungry. The only question I had time for was: Where can we eat?
“The girls love Streat Cafe,” my sister said. “They actually just got back from there.”
“We did! It’s amazing!” one of the flatmates called from down the hall.
I raised my eyebrow to my girlfriend. She shrugged. Her eyes said, Feed me anything.

 

Streat Cafe Melbourne

Streat has a great backyard outdoor area with flora and brick

 

Once we walked in, we knew it was exactly what we were looking for. The atmosphere was immediately welcoming. Clean, organised, and the two baristas behind the counter flashed relaxed smiles when they saw us. I counted one moustache and one beard: evidence that this was to be a good visit. Calculations complete, we took a seat in the outside area out the back, admiring the faux grass, real trees, wood and brick.

 

Streat's impressive stats

Streat’s impressive stats

 

We were served by an Australian gentleman. This came as no shock as we were in Australia. His traditional manners combined with his ‘bros’ and ‘dudes’ made for a comforting and relaxing dialogue. He asked us where we were from (Wellington, New Zealand – the self-proclaimed little cousin of Melbourne), handed us menus, took our coffee order and recommended certain dishes. Once he was out of sight, we turned into schoolgirls, complimenting his dress sense and immaculately groomed stubble (that I was admittedly jealous of). Then, we flicked through the back page of the menu and were blown away.

 

What we learned is that Streat Cafe is an ethical, morally virtuous cafe. Not only do they ensure top of the range service and product, they contribute to society in more ways than economical. They train young people who have found themselves in unfortunate circumstances. Homeless, marginalised youths between 16 and 25 who can’t find a job because they lack skills, but can’t gain skills because they lack experience, and can’t gain experience because they can’t find a job, are up-skilled at Streat Cafe and are taught life skills to aid them in whatever future endeavour they aspire to.

 

Streat Cafe coffee

Delicious and aesthetically pleasing flat white

 

This sparked the inevitable discussion that I’m sure most Streat first-timers indulge in.

“Will the food be good?”
“Will an unwashed drug addict bring it out?”
(This question never actually came out of our mouths, especially in such vocab, as the environment had already assured us we were in a clean, hospitable place.)
“How good can youths with little to no experience really be in a kitchen?”

The answers, in order, are: YES, NO, REALLY GOOD.

 

Streat Meals Melbourne

Fruit and porridge, Salmon, eggs, Vegetarian, Meaty, we covered all bases

 

Streat Cafe have goals for how many youths they want to help. By 2020, Streat wants to be helping one youth per mealtime. Three a day, which equates to 1095 a year.

Sounds like a steep climb, but they’ve already dialled up over 30,000 hours of training since conception of the program.

At the back of the menu, there are multiple ways a customer who feels passionate by the cause can support the program (listed below).

 

After our meals and second coffee, we took another couple of minutes of the guys’ time with some banter and questions, asked if it’s okay to take a few photos and write a blog entry, shook hands and promised we’d be back soon.

We were back soon. We ate there twice more before we left Melbourne, and while we visited many cafes on our trip, none left us more invigorated or altruistically stimulated like Streat. Next time you’re visiting, drop in to 307 Racecourse Road in Flemington, 5 McKillop Street in the CBD, or Melbourne Central near the escalators. Tell them you read this article (that might score me a free coffee next time I’m over there).

 

Streat cafe Melbourne

Streat’s menu, page one. “We all live on a street. Not all of us in a home. Thanks for changing this.”

 

If you feel like getting involved, these are some ways:

 

Share
Tell others about Streat, share a coffee or a meal with friends at Streat, or just share a coffee or a meal with someone less fortunate than yourself.

Connect
Join the Streat mailing list streat.com.au, follow Streat on twitter @STREATmelbourne, @STREATcafe, like Streat on Facebook.

Buy or Donate
Buy Streat coffee or a cookbook at the shop, make a donation (donations over $2 are tax deductible).

Partner of Volunteer
Streat has volunteers and student interns in a bunch of areas. They also have a lot of business and non-profit partnerships so have a chat to them about possibilities.

Get involved.

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