09/11/2011 - 10:39

Not your average Tuck Shop

09/11/2011 - 10:39

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A new cafe on Newcastle Street in the city is creating a niche with its painstakingly prepared food and service focus. Carolyn Herbert reports.

Not your average Tuck Shop
JOIN THE QUEUE: Vanessa Hondros and Paul Cherry are offering a gourmet experience at Tuck Shop on Newcastle Street. Photo: Grant Currall

A new cafe on Newcastle Street in the city is creating a niche with its painstakingly prepared food and service focus. Carolyn Herbert reports.

THE tuck shop ... didn’t we all spend too much of our school lunchtimes there buying sweets, greasy chips and meat pies?

Great memories perhaps, but not ones likely to be rekindled with a visit to Tuck Shop, the latest addition to Northbridge’s revamped Newcastle Street, which offers gourmet breakfasts, home-made pies and hand-cut chips. 

The new cafe is the brainchild of ex-
Subiaco Hotel chef Paul Cherry, his wife Iva and their business partner Vanessa Hondros.

Tuck Shop opened its doors last month and is the first time any of the three has owned or run a business. 

Mr Cherry told Gusto it was his love of traditional, home-cooked fare that was the inspiration for Tuck Shop.

“I have always loved making pies, but what I didn’t want to do was have a pie place where you make a huge mass-produced lot of them and you either freeze them or re-warm them; I wanted to bake them fresh and make them constantly,” Mr Cherry says.

And it’s easy to understand why a Tuck Shop pie sells for around twice the price of your average frozen pie.

Mr Cherry told Gusto each pie is made individually with hand-rolled pastry, slow-cooked meat and stock made from roasting bones and vegetables.

While initially having doubts about whether people would pay $8.50 for a take-away pie, he says customers have embraced the up-market fare.

“I know I can’t compete with Mrs Mac’s pies or the ones in the warmer at Coles, and that was something I really struggled with before we went into business,” Mr Cherry says.

“But people are coming in just to buy these pies and they are realising they are good value for money.” 

In addition to pies, gourmet sandwiches and salads at lunchtime, Tuck Shop also has a breakfast menu that changes daily.

Ms Hondros, who is in charge of front-of-house, says it was important for the trio to keep the business diversified. 

“More often than not people meet up for breakfast than they do for dinner, especially when they are busy, somehow they find more time in the morning,” Ms Hondros told Gusto

“We have found that already the breakfast trade is a growth area for us and it is picking up day by day.”

The area has a mix of commercial office buildings, apartment blocks and established housing, and Ms Hondros says choosing the right location for Tuck Shop took careful consideration.

“We were looking for that mix of residential and commercial buildings and we think this location gives us that, but still offers a real sense of community,” she says.

“Over the last few years there has been a big change in Northbridge with regard to new developments and most of the people who live in these apartments work hard and they work late.”

To capitalise on the number of local business people and residents in the area, the trio plans to launch a range of pre-cooked ‘heat and serve’ meals for customers to take home. 

“What we plan to do is offer a range of slow-cooked, well-branded, Tuck Shop heat and serve meals,” Mr Cherry says.

“People around here work and they are often time poor and when you are working late in the office you want to be able to pick up something for dinner that is made from scratch with absolutely no artificial ingredients.”

However, Ms Hondros says Tuck Shop’s main focus at the moment is to connect with its patrons, and provide top-quality food and service.

“No matter how busy we get, we want to keep that personal touch by remembering people’s coffee orders and remembering their names,” she says. “It’s so important to listen to what people have to say and cater to their needs because there is such a big gap in the market when it comes to service in Perth ... so that in itself is our main focus.”

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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