Retirement village cafe is a hidden gem for locals
CAFE culture is not the first thing you expect to find in a retirement village, but Toormina's Marian Grove has coffee firmly front and centre with The Grove cafe.
The sprawling village of retirement units operated by Sawtell Catholic Care of the Aged has become a mini township as it has grown and developed over the years.
It now includes an activities centre, Our Lady of the Way chapel, a sculpture garden and the Mater Christi nursing home as well as offices, roads, walkways and extensive outdoor areas.
Without a doubt the most popular recent addition is The Grove cafe, an indoor/outdoor eatery and coffee stop which is open to the public as well as to residents and staff of the village and nursing home.
The Grove offers simple lunches; morning and afternoon teas, ice creams, snacks, cold drinks and a selection of coffees and teas.
It has daily blackboard specials, cakes, muffins and biscuits.
But just as importantly it offers a social centre with friendly faces behind the counter and across the table; a destination for a walk for locals and residents and an opportunity to return hospitality.
"It's very accessible - there's no passing traffic, no noise," cafe supervisor Kerrie said.
In spite of the quiet location, she said things could get very busy, especially around late mornings and it was popular for lunch parties.
"There are only two of us to run it and the facilities are small, so we can only book up to 12 people for a birthday lunch, otherwise people have to wait too long for their meal," she said
Even before the cafe opened, Kerrie had a special interest in Marian Grove.
Her widowed mother, who has very limited vision, has been a resident for five years and Kerrie sees her every day.
She said her mother loved to get out of her unit and visit The Grove Cafe.
The cafe is open 9am to 3pm Monday to Saturday, there is ample parking and toilets are nearby.