Best mates, Andrew “Bourkey” Bourke and Chris “Truey” Bradtke, are the brawn and brains behind Social Grounds, the cafe just a few streets back from the main town of Port Macquarie.
Andrew and Chris have been mates for more than 10 years, living and working together in that time. Prior to opening Social Grounds, Chris cut his teeth in some of the UK’s best fine dining restaurants and specialty bars before moving back to Sydney to work at The Winery in Surry Hills, developing his knowledge and passion for the industry. Andrew had been travelling with his partner for the past four years, alternating between snow seasons down south and going tropical across South East Asia. He continued to work as a barista during his travels and in that time developed a true passion for the coffee industry.
Two weeks after receiving the keys to the premises, Social Grounds opened to the masses. The dark walls and dramatic chandeliers of the interior give way to a spacious and sunny, all-weather deck offering natural lighting, beautiful greenery and a backdrop of amazing graffiti artwork. If that’s not open-air enough, benches in the back garden are perfect to perch on with a cup of brew.
Coffee was always the boys’ main focus. Labelling themselves as obsessed, they are in charge of the brew, while Emma Nagel, Andrew’s partner, and Olivia Clarke take care of the business. Beans come courtesy of Story Store, a Gold Coast-based distributor that roasts its beans in a top-secret location in Sydney. Andrew discovered the blend while working on the coast and deemed it the best in Australia. After meeting with Dean Hyland, co-owner of Story Store, a beautiful partnership was formed.
The blend features beans from Ethiopia, Kenya, Java and Sumatra, resulting in a medium balanced blend with soft aromas of spicy dried fruits and notes of chocolate and caramel. It’s been designed to slice through the milk and hit you with a bold, sweet kick. Single origins are rotated every few weeks for the discerning black drinkers. When a hot day calls for cold coffee, the boys deliver with a cold brew, made on-site.
Along with the house-made baked goods, Social Grounds offers a simple, yet effective, breakfast and lunch menu. Start with free-range eggs on sourdough and add your choice of sides, or opt for a beetroot and cauliflower burger with kale and hand-cut chips. Its specials live up to the promise, with past plates including French toast with mashed banana and homemade caramel on organic sourdough, and fragrant spiced duck leg salad with grilled pears, potato, walnut and rocket.