Cafe survives on passion of local owners
FROM the moment you walk into Dingles Cafe and Bar on William St you feel at home.
The black and white family photos on the walls, homemade decor, green velvet booths and warm-coloured brick walls - each detail of the cafe has been hand-selected and carefully thought out by the owners, sister duo Sue Pattison and Carol Dingle.
And it was with that in mind - to make customers feel like they were at home.
Dingles is another edition of The Morning Bulletin's Women of William St features, showcasing the women in business in William St.
The Morning Bulletin sat down with one of the faces of the trendy business, Carol Dingle.
The cafe opened two years ago this April.
Since opening it has been booming and is always bustling with customers, rapidly becoming the "go-to” cafe.
But just because they are busy doesn't mean they will stay still.
"We've been increasing our business and it's getting better and better,” Ms Dingle said.
"We've got a lot of things happening we want to put in place this year.
"No matter what business you are in, you can't think 'oh gee, we have people coming through the door, everything is OK'.... you can't, you have to keep improving and make it interesting and we will forever do that.”
Dingles' popularity and success can be attributed to what the sister team wanted to achieve when they founded the business.
"It comes backs to what Sue and I wanted when it started.
"That place where it feels like home when you come in, generous sizes on food, we're always working on consistency.
"All of our food is made in- house, which is very rare now,” Ms Dingle said.
"It's a lot of work and it's a lot of extra cost on our side, however that's what we want.
"We would never buy in a cake from somewhere else.”
The decor and style again comes back to the sisters' upbringing.
"We were brought up on the land, there would always be so many people coming in, you'd have to have teas, coffees and cakes and that's what we wanted to extend here, to make everyone feel welcome,” Ms Dingle said. "We are who we are because of our upbringing.
"We considered everything, this bottle, we poured from it first, we considered every aspect, right down to the cups.
"I said we could go bold or just blend in and we went bold.
"What you see here is us. The green is my favourite colour.”
The cafe has even had some celebrity visitors, including the Prime Minister and Celebrity Apprentice star Mark Bouris.
"He was blown away with this place. He said this is where I would hang out if I was in Sydney,” Ms Dingle said.
And the success comes down to a lot of drive and dedication, she said. "To open a business like this, you don't open it for a holiday, you open it because it's in your heart, otherwise you wouldn't survive.”
The building the cafe is based in, Diggora Terrace, was built in 1901 and once housed the very popular Melbourne Fish Bar.
It is believed to have run between the 1960s and late 1990s.
Long-time locals remember lining up on a Sunday night for fish and chips.
For threepence you could get fish and so many chips you couldn't eat them all.
For a shilling you could get a twin pat ice cream.
Sue's children went to boarding school in Rockhampton and she always admired the building and thought one day she would sell shoes in there.
Years later Carol was ready to start a business, the kids were finished school and it was fate - the building was vacant.
"We always loved this building and to us there was no other place we wanted to go,” Ms Dingle said.
As for working with her sister, it works surprisingly well.
"Sue and I work well together.
"We have an understanding, we do know what we are both good at and I think that's the important part,” Ms Dingle said. "It's certainly been a learning curve from the start and it's been bigger than what we intended.”
What has been surprising and wonderful in their journey is to find other businesses coming to the street.
It seems like they indirectly became a catalyst for making William St a vibrant end of town again.
"We get comments every day saying thanks for bringing this part of town back to life,” Ms Dingle said.
"I think whether we are men or women, this whole street has come alive.”
Since they have opened they have seen the hairdresser move and the new boutique open.
It wasn't anything they planned or could have imagined.
"Not at all... we just thought we'd do our own thing,” Ms Dingle said.
DINGLES CAFE BAR
- 116-118 William St
- Open Monday to Saturday, 7am to 4pm, Sunday, 7am to 1pm
- Coffees, beverages, breakfast, lunches and all day food
- Phone 4922 3576