Relying on the reputation of the infamous, South Coast Pilgrimså cafes, the Cronulla Pilgrims opened in 2013, the brainchild of former pro-surfer and later, Athlete Marketing Manager, Anthony Macdonald, and his wife, Kelly, a nutritionist with a passion for wholesome, healthy food.
The couple had spent years travelling down the south coast to visit family, and always made time for a mandatory Bliss Burger at Pilgrims in Milton when passing through. Established in 1980, by vegetarians and devout Christians, the Pilgrims menu remains the same today as it did back then.
The current owners, Dan Perry, and Garth and Martha Dickenson, have kept the original 1980 menu with the Bliss, Tofu and Kids burgers, toasted sandwiches and coffee. They have also expanded the business and opened a second Pilgrims cafe in 2010 in Huskisson, Jervis Bay.
On one of their trips, it occurred to the Macdonalds that they needed a Pilgrims in Cronulla. With the growing popularity of vegetarian food as a healthier option, coupled with the already well established reputation of the Pilgrims brand, they decided Pilgrims would make an excellent addition the Cronulla food scene. And their idea has proven popular with the locals.
“We decided to open the city version of Pilgrims, but we wanted to keep it similar to the original venue with that relaxed open feeling,” explained Anthony. He and Kelly set about renovating a beachfront heritage building that dates back to the early 1900s, with the help of Garth and the crew from Milton. It was hard work, and took the husband and wife team almost 6 months to complete, but with 100 year old timber beams, original floorboards and big picture windows looking out the surf, the result is a light, airy, open space.
“The popularity of the two South Coast locations has meant that word spread quickly and we haven’t really had to advertise at all,” said Anthony. Pilgrims’ success can be attributed in large part to the consistency in the menu.
The menu remains the same, and hasn’t changed much since 1980. Also, diners will find the exact same humous, patties, sauces, jams, granolas and sweets that are served at the south coast sites, all of which are still prepared on-site in Milton. Produce is sourced from a local provider, bread from a local artisan baker and free-range eggs from a farm in the Southern Highlands.
Pilgrims serves breakfast and lunch every day and has recently started offering a specialty (all vegetarian of course), Mexican dinner menu on Friday and Saturday nights with the option to BYO. If you are still someone who thinks that vegetarian food is lacking in flavour or substance, then head on down to Pilgrims and prepare to challenge your thinking and your taste buds. You won’t be sorry!