As I spent a deliciously lazy Saturday with my family enjoying breakfast at The Grounds, lunch at Kitchen by Mike and an early drink and snack at Cypro (no, I’m not joking) I nursed my very overindulged stomach in bed that night and realised how this area has changed. We are no longer the ‘sore thumb’ in what was an industrial area with little other than a tiny village of pretty motley shops.
My wife and I moved into this area in 1998 and as hospitality people and locals, very quickly realised that there was little here in terms of good food or coffee. When we decided to open Bitton in 2000 the response was overwhelming and the most rewarding thing for me as a businessman is that the same people who loved us then, still frequent the café today.
We opened as a 20 seater coffee shop with my wife, one apprentice chef and an array of family and friends on speed dial. I have to admit that the first couple of years were scary. Although we quickly became a popular meeting spot for the locals, We were small and our capacity to grow was limited. In 2007 and took over the shop next door and tripled in size. The spill over effect was instant as there was still little competition in the area. We were pinching ourselves at the growth in an industry that notoriously sees more shut downs than successes.
How things have changed … today we saw the opening of yet another iconic Sydney institution in Alexandria – Fratelli Fresh. There are now more than 20 good quality eateries in this area. As locals, we are spoilt for choice. Many customers have tried to gauge my reaction as each new fabulous place has opened and my response has always been the same – there is plenty of room for all of us and Bitton is Bitton, there is no other place like it. Its not to say that we are better, just that we know who we are and who our customers are and we will stay true to that. We are an established, family friendly, service focused café and bistro – think of us as a long term friend or your favourite pair of tracksuit pants – comfortable, welcoming, consistent and reliable in amongst the new.