Three new café, bar and retail openings in the Blue Mountains town of Lawson will make bypassing this village a thing of the past.
When driving to or from Sydney through the Blue Mountains you’d be forgiven for not really noticing Lawson. But for a pub and a row of shops-for-lease lining the Great Western Highway, there doesn’t look to be a lot going on here, unlike neighbouring towns of Leura and Katoomba. But behind the scenes, locals are quietly celebrating the new life being breathed into their community with the recent and soon-to-be openings of three new ventures – a chocolate bar; an organic kitchen, fermentation bar and bakery café; and an organic groceries and artisan wares store.
Each new place has made social responsibility a priority, which says as much about the people behind the businesses as it does about the people living in the Blue Mountains: it’s a close-knit, supportive tribe up here, and shops like these help feed that community feel.
If the lovely Lawson café Cortado hasn’t already made you visit this cute township, then make the trip soon for one or all of the following…
Rust and Timber Chocolate Bar
Run by mid-Mountains couple Megan and Joe Elbourne, this chocolate-themed café plays to the locals’ lust for chocolate (especially of the hot kind in winter) and love of freshly roasted coffee. The coffee is roasted on site daily and along with the gorgeous aroma there’s the nice feeling that 10c from every coffee goes to support one of three local not-for-profit organisations.
Timber benches, frames and crates give the space its namesake rustic feel, and fridges full of colourful, handcrafted truffles and sweets make the decision of what to have pleasantly difficult.
As well as chocolates there’s also muffins, fudge, nougat and a range of take-home goodies. Parents will love the kids’ area with a mini table and stools, blackboards and books, plus an outdoor terrace with a tree-lined view of Lawson.
Big ups to Megan and Joe for creating a family-friendly café that serves quality treats!
What: Rust and Timber Chocolate Bar
When: Mon-Fri 7am-4pm, Sat-Sun 8am-1pm
Where: Shop 2, 297 Great Western Highway, Lawson NSW 2783
Phone: (02) 4759 2470
More info: www.rustandtimberchocolatebar.com.au
Native Kitchen & Bar
*** UPDATE: Native Kitchen & Bar is now closed (Feb 2017)***
With the pub and the bowlo currently the only places to go for a drink in Lawson, you can understand why the prospect of an organic restaurant and wine bar in the neighbourhood is making locals slightly excited.
Native Kitchen and Bar is a proposed project by Naked Indiana – an organic and sustainable food enterprise owned by Blue Mountains couple Rebecca Chippington and Frank Meura. Hailing from a hospitality background (Rebecca is ex-head chef of popular Sydney café Revolver and Frank is a barista/fine artist/industrial designer) the pair is driven by the philosophy to share the benefits of eating locally and sustainably produced food with their community.
Native Kitchen and Bar is to be the hub where all of this eating, drinking, learning and sharing takes place. Not only will it incorporate a restaurant and bar offering organic food and Australian boutique wine, beer and spirits, it will also feature a bakery serving organic sourdough, a fermentation bar with on-tap kombucha, and – of course – coffee.
Cooking workshops are also on the cards, and the space will moonlight as a pop-up art gallery, live drawing studio and open-mic venue. Rebecca and Frank are also keen to connect the community with local farmers and producers and hope to offer farm stays and ‘meet the farmer’ experiences to customers and employees in the future.
Native Kitchen and Bar is set to open on Christmas Eve, 2015, and to help get the project off the ground the owners have set up a crowdfunding campaign urging supporters to pledge funds in return for a range of rewards – from cake and coffee to dinner vouchers and food events.
So if you like the sound of what you’ve just read – and if you’re planning on dining at Native Kitchen & Bar one day anyway – it makes total sense to make a contribution!
Want to know more? Watch the video.
What: Native Kitchen & Bar
When: CLOSED (Feb 2017)
More info: www.nativekitchenandbar.com
More community love has hit Lawson in the form of Lyttleton Stores – a trio of retail stores and a workshop space in the old Badgery’s Attic on the north side of the railway.
The vision of Lawson-raised foodie and furniture designer Jacinta Carmichael-Parissi and her jewellery artist sister Adelina, Lyttleton Stores is a coming-together of the siblings’ passions for organic produce, beautiful and environmentally responsible handmade wares and the desire to share these loves with the people around them. The three stores comprise:
PanTree Produce: an organic grocery store selling seasonally available fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers, organic dairy and meat, as well as kitchen essentials such as organic bread, eggs and dry goods (herbs, spices, oils, vinegars). Much of the produce will derive from the on-site garden.
Atelier: a store full of artisan-made wares, including furniture, jewellery, glassware, leather goods and fabric work.
Preserve: a learning space hosting art, craft, cooking and gardening workshops.
There are also plans for a commercial kitchen, which will be used to turn any excess produce from the garden into pickles and jams, cordials, ice cream, dried fruit and other goods to sell at PanTree Produce. Minimising waste is part of the stores’ long-term environmental goals, which will eventually see it becoming a zero-waste facility.
With so much good happening and on the horizon for Lawson, it’s high time Blue Mountains residents and out-of-towners paid it a visit. Add to your trip a walk around the South Lawson Waterfall Circuit (4km, starting on Honour Avenue) and you’ve got a unique and fun-filled day out exploring somewhere new.
What: Lyttleton Stores
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 8:30am-6:30pm, Sun 10am-5:30pm
Where: 1 Badgery Crescent, Lawson NSW 2783
Phone: (02) 4759 3478
More info: www.lyttletonstores.com.au
Are you excited about what’s happening in Lawson? Share your thoughts below…