Local nostalgia served with a chilled glass of wine
A rustic, welcoming bar and restaurant with a community vibe where friends can gather: that was business partners Nathan Livotto and Morgan Benjes’ vision for their new venture, The Mill at Avalon Beach.
“We felt there was a gap in the market for a place that was different to a pub, club or typical bar,” said Nathan. “What we’ve created is somewhere that’s inviting and relatively low-key, where our customers can relax and catch up with friends over a nice glass of wine and good food.”
The Mill opened on the Australia Day long weekend and Nathan and Morgan have been amazed and delighted by the response.
“Our advertising was minimal and people heard about us by word of mouth,” said Nathan. “By our second weekend, we were jam-packed and we’re now having to restock our food and drink supplies much faster than we’d predicted!”
Old newspaper articles about Avalon, along with local photos from the 1930s and 40s, adorn the walls. An aerial shot taken during the 1920s is a feature, and shows how the area once contained lots of farmland and paddocks, and just a handful of buildings.
“Everyone’s really drawn to the old photos and the stories,” said Nathan. “Avalon is a very close knit community and there are lots of friendships that have been forged over the years through the local sporting clubs such as the surf club, footy club and rowing club. People are very interested in the area’s history and we’re happy to celebrate that in The Mill’s design and fitout.”
Nathan said that initial feedback from customers is that they’re thrilled to have a place like The Mill to head to.
“Getting to Manly or the city from here can take an hour or more on public transport,” said Nathan. “With The Mill, our customers can enjoy the sophisticated feel of a city establishment without the need to leave the northern beaches, and that’s a big plus.”
Nathan and Morgan source most of their food supplies from other businesses on the northern beaches. “By supporting other local businesses, we help strengthen them, which in turn makes the whole area more attractive for people to visit, and that’s good for us too,” said Nathan.
When it came to purchasing equipment and furniture for The Mill, several connections in the industry recommended Caféideas. “Originally I intended just to buy our kitchen equipment from Caféideas, but then I saw they also had rustic style stools and chairs that matched our design brief, so I bought them from Caféideas as well.”
Nathan dealt with Caféideas’ Vibha. “Because we’re a long way from the showroom, I did all our purchasing online or by phone. Vibha was our main contact at Caféideas, and she was really helpful. The furniture we wanted was already in stock, and all the equipment was able to be delivered within our deadline.”
For The Mill, Nathan and Morgan bought chairs, bar stools, stools, table bases, gas fryer, ice machine, pass through dishwasher, undercounter glasswasher, 6 burner gas static oven range, stainless workbench freezer, kitchenware, 4 tier storage shelves, solid wall shelves, pipe wall shelves, a grinder and a blender, using Silver Chef.
“Caféideas and Silver Chef were both very easy to deal with,” said Nathan. “Because they made all the arrangements directly with each other, I didn’t need to get so involved which was less pressure on me.”
The Mill at Avalon Beach is located at 19 Avalon Parade, Avalon Beach. It opens 3pm to midnight from Tuesday to Saturday, and 3pm to 10pm on Sunday.