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The country café with the dusty pink doors

Lifestyle

The small and sleepy agricultural town of Cleve in the rural heart of the Eyre Peninsula is probably the last place you’d expect to find trendy raw slices, quinoa salads and turmeric chai teas.

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But a popular café in the main street is proving that country towns aren’t exempt from quality coffee, homemade treats and fresh dishes using local and seasonal produce.

The Pink Door Co in Cleve has opened its doors to locals and visitors since 2017 and has since grown into a popular meeting place for people wanting their morning caffeine fix, to indulge in something a little sweet, or seek an alternative to typical lunchtime offerings.

Established by interior designer and stylist Tayla Harris, The Pink Door Co was originally set up as a homewares and lifestyle shop with a coffee bar, which ensured the retail space received foot traffic and remained relevant every day.

Recognised by the dusty pink doors at the entrance, the coffee hotspot is now solely a café run by Cleve local Louise Dreckow who took over in February this year. Louise was already familiar with The Pink Door Co through her role in home cooking and baking the meals and raw treats.

“It started off that I was just making a few salads and a few little bits here and there and then it gradually grew as people started to enjoy some of the raw treats and slices,” she says.

“It’s all homemade and I still make all the food. The food is my thing, that’s my passion. I’ve always enjoyed cooking.”

The Pink Door Co now serves as a popular destination for locals during most weekdays and on weekends. Those who wander in for morning tea or lunch are always bound to find something new.

“(The food is) made fresh every day. We try to vary the menu so it’s not the same thing day in day out and we try to use seasonal produce,” Louise says.

“Our point of difference is having healthy options and good quality speciality coffee without having to travel to get it. We source (our produce) through the local supermarket, local butcher, Five Loaves Bakery in Cummins and the coffee is by Boston Bean Coffee Co from Port Lincoln. We try and keep it local.”

Louise says the raw cranberry slices are among the first treats to disappear from the fridge, with the original caramel slices close behind. The rice paper cold rolls are always a lunchtime favourite because they are “something different for the town, there is nowhere else you can get that sort of food”.

A cup of hot coffee and a friendly barista might seem like small and simple everyday social delights, but thriving cafés can help boost community morale, something particularly important in a town like Cleve, which is among many Eyre Peninsula areas desperate for relief from the drought.

“It’s a fairly big district including the Cowell area and down to Arno Bay and we’ve all been affected by the drought so it has been tough,” says Louise, whose family farm sheep and grain.

“But I think the (recent) rain is fairly widespread from what I’m hearing, and that’s positive.”

The Pink Door Co is open Tuesdays through to Fridays 9am – 3pm and on weekends 9–11.30am.

This story was first published by Brand South Australia for the Regional Showcase.

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story.

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