"When you're a young parent and you've got time on your hands and you want to catch up with friends, it's hard to find somewhere that accommodates a little bit of everything," says hospo veteran Lily Stokes.
She and partner Henry Brooks decided to solve the problem themselves, opening Theodore's in the former Host Dining site just off Sydney Road.
They're calling it a "snack bar and refreshment service", with deli-style dishes from soups to salads and sandwiches, brunch and coffee, bar snacks, natural wine – even groceries.
Stokes, who worked alongside natural wine importer Giorgio di Maria at Wine Republic, and Brooks, who was at Umberto's in Thornbury, decided to open Theodore's after the birth of their son, Ted.
Sustainability underpins the business. Eighty per cent of the menu, with chef Andy Maybury (ex-Rudimentary) at the helm, is plant-based, and any meat or dairy is sourced as locally as possible from ethical farms. They're also implementing a green waste system and collaborating with local businesses to return their composted waste to the winemakers and farmers they work with.
They've done little to change the interior other than removing one of the timber-lined booths to make way for a coffee station, and painting a huge mural on one wall.
"It's the sort of place where it's never too early to have a glass of wine, a babycino, some eggs on toast, a light dinner," says Stokes. "We really just want to be able to accommodate everybody."
Open Sun-Wed 8.30am-4pm, Thu-Sun 8.30am-7pm.
4 Saxon Street, Brunswick, theodor.es