With its sun-splashed days, spectacular views and friendly neighbours, Coolangatta seems like a pretty good place to set up a fish and chip shop. That was the original dream of Donna and Steve Archdeacon and it was a pretty good one. But, as people grow, so do their dreams, and now, Café D’Bar is more than just a takeaway shop. It’s a restaurant, and a bar, and an art gallery.
There’s one thing that hasn’t changed though, and that’s the passion. There’s still that same joy and exhilaration that comes from helping people create new memories of good food, great company and a truly breathtaking surf. It’s the pleasure you get from being able to help out the local artists in the neighbourhood. It’s the happiness that stems from giving back to a community that’s more like family than anything else.
We popped into Café D’Bar but Donna and Steve were out having a surf, so we had a chat their restaurant manager, Brie, to find out more about this local icon.
Hi Brie, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. What’s the story behind Café D’Bar?
Café D’Bar stems from the visions of Donna and Steve Archdeacon, and their love for providing fresh food and a vibrant venue amongst the community. With both having countless years of experience in the hospitality and chefing industry, the café has since grown tremendously – from a small takeaway shop front to now a leading restaurant and bar, with a local artist shop attached. Café D’Bar started from humble beginnings and remains in that light, a relaxed community go-to.
What do you love the most about having a local business on the Gold Coast?
The ever-evolving nature of the Gold Coast and its venues is exciting. It allows for great ideas and loads more opportunity – especially in terms of encouraging good food and atmosphere. This agility is beneficial as it pushes trend-setting and for us to be the best we can possibly be. Also, the Gold Coast is ideal for a more relaxed crowd, more beachgoers and people visiting, which creates a more laid-back environment, evoking positive synergy.
What made you want to start your own small business?
Our love for making an environment in which the community can gather with friends and family and enjoy great food, beverages, and a view of our world-class beaches. The joy that comes from creating those moments for people is rewarding.
Do you have a signature dish that the locals love?
The most popular would have to be our famous D’Bar burger. It could be described as the ‘works’ burger with the D’Bar touch of homemade secret recipe sauce and stacks of fresh ingredients. Also, our classic hot chip cones with rosemary are to die for. We have people travelling from all over to taste our crunchy chips cones, and often take them away and stroll over to the Point Danger lookout and parklands.
How do you go over and above to create a customer experience that people love coming back to?
We aim to provide a professional, yet casual service because after all, we are on the sunny Gold Coast! With a more casual and honest service to customers, it allows engagement on a personal level, making them feel welcome and wanting to come back! We also try to create a vibrant atmosphere, whether it’s through our live music or bustling Sunday morning breakfasts; it increases the social aspect of an outing.
Do you have any advice for other small businesses that are starting up?
Our advice would be to be passionate about the cause, and to be original. Provide a unique experience that only you can give the customer or client. If you are passionate and fun, enjoyment flows from that. Also, be prepared to learn from your mistakes, but more importantly, don’t hold back.
One of the top reviews on your listing says “I would have to say their friendly service is one of the best on the Gold Coast. Their menu is exceptional, and I recommend their Mighty Mango and their delicious bean and beetroot burger which comes with a side of chips.” Locals supporting locals is something we really believe in. How valuable have you found online reviews and feedback to you as a local business?
Online reviews have proven valuable for us for the purposes of self-betterment. It allows us to review our structures and improve at times. However, it also acts a reminder of the aspects we do well in. A great review from locals gives us the spur to continue to deliver the D’Bar experience.
What advice do you have for other local businesses who might want to increase their online reviews on platforms like True Local?
The best thing to approach this would be to ensure the staff are encouraging customers to go online and review them. This extra step can prove useful for both other customers and the business itself.
We’ve noticed that Café D’Bar is very active online on sites like Facebook and True Local. Why do you think it’s important to engage with customers online?
The importance of customer engagement is crucial – it gives a personal touch, and can create a sense of being valued by the business. It also gives us the opportunity to constantly update what we have to offer and provide pictures of this, so the content can be useful for customers wanting to gain information or a pre-insight before they visit us.
It’s important for local businesses to have the support and recommendations of the locals to boost the community. What are your favourite businesses in your area?
We love Mavericks Hair and Art Space in Coolangatta; the girls there are upbeat, and the collection of arty goods they offer are stylish. Also, O-Sushi in town is another great local business, which always provides the freshest sushi!
We’ll be sure to check them out! Lastly, for a bit of fun – what’s one fun fact about Café D’Bar people might not know?
We have some of the world’s best surfers, present and past, dine in at the café frequently, including Mick Fanning, Joel Parko, Steph Gilmore and Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew! It has definitely become their local spot for a morning coffee or fresh juice after their morning surfs. Even better, during Quiksilver Pro, we have surfers ranging from Kelly Slater to John John Florence come in daily. So with this, customers never know which legends they may bump into!
For a fantastic dining experience, head to Café D’Bar at 275 Boundary St, Coolangatta, and keep an eye on their Facebook page for all their latest updates!