Frankies on Darby a South African dream come true

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Fresh faces on Darby Street strip TweetFacebook Frankies on Darby | PHOTOSBrian and Eileen Verwey. Pictures By Marina Neil. Brian and Eileen Verwey moved to from Pretoria in South Africa early last year, seeking a better lifefor their family.
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WARM WELCOME: Eileen and Brian Verwey in the courtyard at the freshly renovated Frankies on Darby. Picture: Marina Neil

“We wanted to give our two children a safer living and school environment with access to a first-world education system.We were tired of living with burglar-proof walls, electric fencing and armed security guards at our gates,” Brian Verwey said.

“We longed forthe ability to walk to the shop without fear of being attacked and hijacked.”

The family now calls Newcastle home and are fast making friends as the new owners of Frankies on Darby, (previously known as Frankies Place) at 133 Darby Street, Cooks Hill. Theyspent six weeksrenovatingthe cafe. It opened on October 9 and is acasual, welcoming haven on an otherwise busy street.

“It has always been our dream to own and run our own cafe.We wanted to create a space where you can unwindand meet with a friend. A place you can chat for hours and feel comfortable,” Verwey, who previouslyowned businesses in South Africa,said. ExistingFrankies Place staff were invited to stayon, including head chefAdrian Maughan.

“Adrian believes in fresh ingredients and is not afraid to experiment with new flavours. We get along well as he shares my adventurous approach to cafe food and traditional n cuisine,” Verwey said.

“We are the home of Newcastle’s best all-daybreakfast. Put it this way –we love serving eggs benedict at 2.30 in the afternoon. We have an equally impressive lunch menu and 50 per cent of our menu offersvegetarian options.”

Verweysources fruit and vegetables from local markets every week. As for meat, he walks 100 metres up the road to Darby Street Meats: “We keep it close and build relationships; that ishow we have always done business.”

He said he was “amazed” at the number of South Africans living in Newcastle who had visited the cafe to date. A South African menu is offered once a quarter at the cafe, with lots of meat,potato salad, vetkoek and melktert. The everyday menu, though, is contemporary n and Frankies has just launched a platter and catering menu tocomplement their party and function offering.

“As a newbie on Darby Street we were welcomed with open arms. The standard on the street is very high, which keeps us on our toes andis good for customers.”

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