NEW BUSINESS: Historic Ipswich building busy again
ONE of Ipswich's most iconic buildings has been given new life.
Michelle McGuinness is the proud new owner of Coffee Anda, officially opened at the weekend, in the old Halley's Bakery building.
Mrs McGuinness said it was a dream to open a business - a cafe and restaurant - in such a beautiful and historic venue.
She believes the concept behind the coffee house was the first of its kind for the area.
Coffee Anda is primarily a coffee house offering a selection of cakes and coffee, but also features a fully functioning kitchen where people can order breakfast or lunch at any time of the day.
The restaurant can seat 70 to 100 people and has three separate dining areas.
"We'd been looking around Ipswich for around two years for a suitable location and when we went in to have a look at the bakehouse it just felt right," Mrs McGuinness said.
"We're open seven days from 6am until late and people have been really excited about that because they've said there's nothing really open after 2 or 3pm to have a late meeting or afternoon tea and that the only options are fast-food restaurants.
"We want to be able to give the people of Ipswich another option and will be offering something for the post-school pick up, after work relaxation, the shift worker or even as a place to go after the movies."
The 101 year-old building has housed a range of businesses throughout the years from the famous Bakehouse Steakhouse restaurant, a night club, to the original Halley's Bakery back in the early 1900s.
Mrs McGuinness said it was the rich history and uniqueness of the building plus the unlimited potential of the venue that eventually led her to make the decision to leave the airforce after 20 years of service.
"I'm in the airforce where I've worked in personnel but the remainder of this year I will transition out and this will be the start of the next chapter in my life," Mrs McGuinness said.
"I used to work in hospitality before joining the airforce and lived in Ipswich just prior to that, so this just seemed like the right place to start a business.
"While I won't be making the coffees or cooking the food, running the business will be my strength as I deal with people every day in my current job, so the only difference is now it will mean managing a team plus keeping customers happy."
The mother of two, said she and her staff were only limited by their imagination and looked forward to exploring what they could put together on the menu.
"In the kitchen we have Taylah who is almost 22 years-old and who has been working with us for a few weeks and our head chef Matt is also in the airforce and will be joining the team shortly," she said.
"We really want to have exciting and new food, so think things like a breakfast cheesecake, breakfast burritos, melts salads, dessert tacos and chocolate fettuccine.
"We also want to be able to provide healthy options and create food that makes use of the best nutrients from the food we're making, so we're just lucky that because we're not a franchise, if we want to make up something in the back, we can do that."
The venue is kid friendly with a dedicated space inside, and an outdoor climbing wall on the back terrace. Coffee Anda is on the corner of Darling and West Street, Ipswich.