If you’re lucky enough to be frequenting the southeast suburbs near Keysborough, then you’re in for a treat. Punch in 2 Adriatic Way into your Google Maps and follow the line. Trust us. It will be worth it.
The ‘Mr Craftsman’ idea didn’t just begin earlier this year when the doors opened, this way of doing hospitality has been brewing for three generations. Meet Shadi and his family, owners of Mr Craftsman and third generation restaurant/café owners. Born into the hospitality scene, Shadi has watched the successes of his parents and grandparents, and is now proud to be running a new venue under the Mr Craftsman banner.
The name itself was inspired by father and family co-owner Fred Shakir. As kids, Shadi and his siblings saw how resourceful and clever their father was whilst running restaurants on his own. Not only would he come up with unique and delicious recipes, but he would hand make all the restaurant furniture and finishes – hence their first family venture was named Mr Craftsman.
Unlike Fred’s previous ventures, Mr Craftsman isn’t your traditional restaurant venue. It’s more of a café with plenty of dine-in benefits. The reason for deviating away from the restaurant line was to create something the entire family could be a part of. While the venue was new, the strategy remained the same. For every restaurant venture, the family first looked to see what was lacking in a certain area. This time that area was Keysborough, and the lacking was a city café experience in the suburbs.
‘These days people expect more than your general fried food from a tuck shop, so we wanted to bring a high-quality but affordable food experience that reflected the city in the suburbs’ – well said Shadi, well said!
When they set out to create a high-quality experience, they certainly didn’t mess about! The entire venue is a sleek yet comfortable escape from the corporate humdrum. We could not talk about the ambience of Mr Craftsman without beginning with their iconic yellow. Beginning at the entrance, a big yellow concrete wall is bound to catch your eye as you drive by. Rising like a pillar of bright happiness amongst the cold concrete factories. This yellow is carried right through to the inside. Glowing from the back corner of the wall in yellow neon is the Mr Craftsman logo, designed along with the rest of the café, by Shadi himself!
The fitout is like nothing you would except from this commercial corner of town. A show-stopping mural of two hands reaching for a latte, features triangular pops of yellow and really gets those palates craving a delicious brew! Polished, concrete-finish, black tiles set a sleek city feel for the entire café. Cleverly contrasting the darker hues and industrial feel are the wooden tabletops furnished with black and yellow chairs.
The space features a great mix of textures, both industrial and organic, special mention to the bountiful hanging greenery that add a well-placed relaxed yet sophisticated touch.
We also love the excellent range of seating options, both indoor and out. From cushy comfortable booths, to the sit up brekkie-bar style stools and tables. Customers have left great feedback about how they feel comfortable doing a range of things from a nice sit-down lunch to a business meeting.
Thanks to the ample natural light, even the back of the café feels open and light. This is where you can watch the baristas at work and choose from an amazing range of pre-packaged lunches and morning tea options.
From behind the fully customized, matte black La Marzocco Linea PB with yellow finishings (of course) the team have worked tirelessly perfecting the ‘craft’ of consistency. Choosing Zest to support their new venture was a well-considered decision. Shadi and his family knew that they needed not only great coffee but the knowledge and experience that comes with being in the industry for over a decade. A key element has been investing enough time and training into every staff member that wears the barista’s shoes. Our team have enjoyed being an influential part of this training. Covering things like dialling in, correct cleaning procedures along with dosing, tamping, extraction, and texturing milk. Thanks to a detailed and committed approach, Mr Craftsman is now reaping the benefits with a spreading reputation for having the best brews on the block!
As mentioned before Mr Craftsman has nailed the takeaway food area. There is something for everyone, sweet, savoury, vegetarian, and all the works. A local favourite, the falafel wrap, has regulars lining up daily! The menu has a lot of popular favourites, both affordable and fresh. Where possible the family draws on their heritage and adds subtle middle-eastern spins to their recipes. Whether that be adding in a couple of herbs and spices, or hummus to the mixed grill. On their dining menu, the generously filled burgers are a hit, the signature being the Mr Craftsman Burger which is a double patty Angus burger. Drooling? We thought so!
When a café is centered on family, you really see the team effort shining. Shadi’s background in marketing shows in the clever fit out and online presence Mr Craftsman has. Shadi’s sister, Raneen’s experience in HR ensured that the café has enough staff around the clock. Last but certainly not least, Fred and his wife Sue, make up the backbone of the food and menu. It’s an unlikely but certainly refreshing space that rewards all who visit. You feel at home not only in the relaxed space, but in the friendly company. Whether it’s a coffee and sandwich before your morning meeting or you’re just craving that double Angus burger, head into Mr Craftsman for a high-value city café experience.