By SYDNEY ERGLE
MARIETTA, Ga. – Australian Bakery Café has been bringing the feel and atmosphere of a trip Down Under to Marietta locals for the last 15 years.
One of Gayot’s 2016 “Top Ten Bakeries in the Atlanta Area,” the Australian eatery offers a large selection of savory dishes. Meat pies, sausage rolls and an array of Aussie-style desserts are available for purchase in-store or online for a price of no more than $6.
Hailing from Northern Victoria, about 155 miles from Melbourne, Neville Steel and Mark Allen opened the business in Marietta Square in 2001. Their careers as restaurant owners began back in an Australian country town called Bendigo where the men opened the American Rock & Roll Bakery, offering traditional Aussie cuisine with an American twist.
Allen, who had lived in Georgia for a time, had an idea to open a bakery in the states. A few short months later, the Marietta bakery was born..
“We see all different types of people in here,” Steel said. “Some are just passing by and wonder what it is, and some even travel from entirely different states to get a taste of our pies.”
Being passionate bakers and lifelong friends, the two men were easily able to attract business from homesick Aussies and curious Americans alike. As the café gained popularity, an East Atlanta location was opened and proved to be very successful until it was recently closed due to transportation issues. A branch in Cumming is expected to be opened within the next month and is projected to do very well in the area.
The restaurant employees usually arrive at work around 4 a.m. to start baking. Fresh pies are made every morning, along with Pavlova and Lamington, a light sponge cake dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with coconut shavings. The most popular item on the menu is the Aussie Meat Pie, made with fresh ground beef, seasoned gravy and then wrapped in a flaky pastry.
“People love the basic meat pies, we sell more of those than anything else,” Steel said. “Most of our American customers also really enjoy the buffalo chicken pie.”
A small grocery section is also set up near the back of the store that offers Australian food products such as Vegemite, a peanut butter-like spread made from yeast extract. American patrons often come in the store just to browse the foreign selection of snacks and spreads, Steel said.
The company has been known to cater large events such as NASCAR races and local festivals like Tomorrowworld and CounterPoint. Its online store has also been successful with shipping pies and other goods across the country. New recipes are always in the making along with specials for holidays and other events, such as heart-shaped meat pies for Valentine’s Day.
Daniel Brewer, Kennesaw resident and customer at the bakery, had nothing but praise for the establishment and its employees.
“I come here to eat at least once a week,” Brewer said. “I have never experienced such great service and the food is always phenomenal.”