By Kate Skinner

    Willow Wine Cafe owner Ellen Turner is launching Myrtle Wine Cafe at Footscray Community Arts Centre’s adjacent cafe space in November. Myrtle is set to open as a cafe during the day and eventually a wine bar on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

    Like Ellen’s ‘Willow Wine Cafe’, ‘Myrtle Wine Cafe’ will source local and sustainable and ethically sourced products.

    “The daytime will be a full cafe service with a good emphasis on takeaway food, and the wine bar will have some charcuterie and small plates”, Ellen said.

    The sole trader said she is excited to use the front grassed space, as well as the areas behind the cafe and down to the river.

    “We’ll have cool little take-away picnic boxes so people can go and sit by the river and have sandwiches and drinks”, she said.

    There will be outdoor dining and take-away available while restrictions are still in place. Customers can dine on the front grassed area under umbrellas on warmer days.

    “Eventually I’d like it to be more like a festival feel on the grass with casual beanbags and more casual seating”, she explained.

    Ellen is eager to work alongside Footscray Community Arts Centre, as her business plan closely aligns with FCAC’s ethical manifesto.

    “I’m really excited about learning more through my relationship with them as they have strong experience in a number of NDIS, Indigenous and other programs and have been ground breaking in their attitude to inclusivity”, she said.

    ‘Myrtle Wine Cafe’ was named after ‘Willow Myrtle’, a native plant that grows prolifically along the Maribyrnong River, also fitting in nicely with Ellen’s existing ‘Willow Wine Cafe’ name. It also compliments FCAC’s small galleries which will also be named after Indigenous flora.

    The cafe is well-deserved news for Ellen, especially after constantly adjusting ‘Willow’ to new restrictions and having extra seven days in lockdown in the 3012 postcode.

    “That constant change is quite tiring”, she admitted. The plan towards our ‘new normal’ may feel slow for us, but it greatly helps both of Ellen’s cafes.

    “We can actually plan about what we’re going to do at each new restriction being eased”, she said.

    Ellen’s vision for ‘Myrtle Wine Cafe’ is to bring back the iconic Footscray vibe as restrictions ease.

    If Melbourne sticks to the road map plan, ‘Myrtle Wine Cafe’ will open early November.

    Ellen Turner, at right with Co-CEOs of FCAC, Robyn Gawenda and Daniel Santangeli. Photo by Gianna Rizzo Photography.


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