Located just a stone’s throw from the surf and sand of North Beach is Diggies – a welcoming cafe with a laidback atmosphere, serving simple yet delicious fare seven days a week.
Brothers, Stan and Aaron Crinis, own and operate Diggies, a space they have affectionately named after their brother Mathew’s family nickname. The three boys spent their childhood summers on the beaches of Wollongong, so when the iconic heritage-listed building came up for tender, it felt like the perfect fit.
The building was once the beach kiosk and manager’s residence and Diggies’ design pays homage to the building’s past. In the words of Stan and Aaron, they have given a “new lease on life to an old friend”. Concertina glass windows are open wide on warm summer days, allowing an ocean breeze to filter into the cafe. Regulars can be found reading a newspaper with a freshly brewed coffee, enjoying the breeze, while friends, old and new, gather to enjoy a cocktail or two over a delicious lunch.
The brothers are joined by talented Korean chef, Doha Song, who oversees things in the bustling kitchen. Doha completed his apprenticeship in South Korea and then moved to Australia, where he started out at the three-hatted fine-dining restaurant The Bridge Room. From there, he moved onto the Merivale Group, working at Uccello and the Fish Shop, before coming across to Diggies.
Doha has a passion for fresh, seasonal cuisine, which made him a natural choice for the Head Chef role. He cleverly creates a relaxed cafe menu on which local produce shines. This includes local organic pearl barley, oysters, chicken and cheese, as well as a selection of muesli and relishes from local providore, Ravenous Food Co.
The breakfast and lunch options at Diggies focus on consistently creating good quality food. Breakfast options include time-honoured favourites like the Big One – a plentiful serving of bacon, eggs, roasted tomato, sausage, mushrooms and crispy chat potatoes served with Turkish toast, or fluffy buttermilk pancakes served with sliced banana or fresh strawberries and maple syrup. Hungry diners can also add a side of crispy bacon for a bit of crunch.
Lunch options continue to embrace simplicity, making Diggies the perfect spot for a relaxed midday meal. The Surfing With Chicks salad is a healthy and delicious combination of grilled chicken, pepitas, sunflower seeds, pearl barley, avocado and a healthy serving of greens, while the lobster roll with celery heart, Japanese mayo and potato crisps offers lobster in an accessible setting.
All-day brunch is also available on weekends, ensuring late risers can enjoy both the delicious fare and a sleep in.
Over the last 12 years Diggies has become a kind of social hub for Wollongong locals. With a host of friendly and approachable staff and consistently good food and drink, Diggies is simple and welcoming, succeeding in doing the little things well.