IT looks like a regular café, with coffee, juice and plates of eggs and toast being ferried to tables of hungry diners, but it serves no grains, dairy, sugar or preservatives. Welcome to Paleo Café-believed to be the country’s first cafe dedicated to catering to the dietary needs of followers of the paleo diet.
‘’The public reaction was amazing. We were run off our feet from the moment we opened the doors,’’ says owner Marlies Hobbs. “We have had customers with allergies literally in tears–so excited to be able to eat anything on the menu.’’
The paleo lifestyle, Hobbs says is about eating and living “as mother nature intended.’’ “That means eating a good variety of lean meat, seafood, eggs, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and berries.’’
“Around the same time, my husband heard about paleo at his crossfit gym and we’ve been doing it ever since. The fact that it worked in with our son’s intolerance and how much sense it made once we read into it, inspired us to start. We haven’t look back since.’’
While they embraced the philosophy, the idea for a café serving only paleo food struck Hobbs in April last year. “We registered the business name the next day and opened October 2012,’’ she says.
As per the paleo prescription, the café serves food made without dairy, grains, sugars and preservatives. But it’s difficult to ascertain from a menu that features classic breakfast items such as eggs Benedict, pancakes and granola with coconut yoghurt or lunch dishes like dukkah-crusted fish with sweet potato chips, steak or salmon with lemon mayonnaise.
‘’Everything is fairly easy to find now though cheese is something you have to say goodbye to if you want to be strict paleo. There really is no substitute for that as far as I know’’, Hobbs says.
The café also sells a range of take home products, supplements and ready-made paleo meals.
It’s a concept Hobbs plans to take nationwide this year, with a franchise operation ready to roll out around June.
“We are already corresponding with over 16 different people from around Australia who are interested in opening a Paleo Café,’’ she says.
But what if it’s all just a fad-likely to fall out of favour when then next big thing comes along?
Hobbs responds with the enthusiasm of a true convert.
“The paleo lifestyle is not a fad. It is going back to eating the way our bodies were designed to eat. This is the way of the future in order to undo the damage done as a result of the modern day diet. People are becoming more health conscious. They know something has to change. Paleo is the simple common sense answer to all of the problems.’’
Paleo Café Shop 15, 62 Grafton Street Cairns, 4041 3885