Theres a stretch of Swan Street between Church and Burnley thats evolved into a brilliant little community. Nestled in that stretch, Pg. 2 has become a meeting place, a study spot and a hang out for locals who appreciate a home away from home.
As we chat, it becomes clear that Pg. 2 is the perfect extension of Jason. Bright, positive, relaxed and friendly Jason. With the help of his business partner and friend-since-kindergarten, Nhi, he brought this place to fruition with his bare hands. Jason and Nhi found the shop front after years of concocting their plans to open a caf and, lead by their creativity and intuition, they established a warm and inviting space.
Jason recalls, Wed be like, we need a splash of colour lets paint that window frame red!
Amazingly, this intuitive approach to renovation has carried over into the day-to-day at Pg. 2, even two and half years on from opening. Jason and Nhi started with an open-minded outlook and when they saw how well that worked, they kept it up.
The menu is continually shaped by it. As Jason explains, In the beginning, we were going to have a completely different menu. Then we got to know our customers and its changed over time. The menu is constantly changing and when we put dishes on as specials, we always get our regulars to give us feedback.
Jason and the Pg. 2 team like involving customers in the process. After all, these are people they see every week, if not every day! And customers pick up on the genuine appreciation Pg. 2 has for their business and, if they want to give it, their feedback. Jason set out to create a place that represented the community and welcomed locals from every demographic.
Were the kind of place you can come and relax. You can come hang out by yourself or you can come with your friends and family. We try to be accessible for everybody.
Pg, 2 is also endeavouring to support the local community, regularly hosting local artists free of charge.
Part of this accessibility is the relaxing atmosphere in Pg. 2. No matter how busy it gets, the place feels peaceful we suggest that this may be a flow-on effect from Jasons calming nature but Jason says its more about being flexible and forgetting about the rules some cafs put in place.
He says, I just want customers to feel at home. We want them to be comfy! Its the place where if you like your coffee a certain way, were not going to judge you. Say you have seven sugars, sure, you have seven sugars. You do you! If you want to make alternations to the dishes, were happy to do that its not that big of a deal. You want to split the bill? Yeah, we can pull out our calculator.
For some reason, this sort of flexibility is rare in Melbourne. As a result, it can leave customers pretty surprised happy, but surprised. Which Jason seems delighted about because as it turns out, he loves a good surprise. On quiet days, hell spring a challenge on the kitchen. The chefs will leap into action, challenged to create a new dish using only the ingredients they have on hand and in a set amount of time.
It sounds like heaps of fun and according to Jason, About 50% of the time, the dishes end up on the menu.
While these challenges do play a part in keeping things interesting at Pg. 2, its the spirit of the caf that keep people coming back. After chatting to Jason, we sat at a booth scribbling notes as the personality of Pg. 2 popped up all around us. We saw a staff member get surprised by a perfect stack of birthday pancakes topped with a candle; we watched Jason catch up with a customer and her doggie on the sidewalk out front for a good five minutes; we saw countless cups of beautiful coffee go past, each with unique latte art that was sure to make the customer smile.
Pg. 2 has a distinct personality and as Jason puts it, its the kind of personality that feels something is always worth it if its going to make someone smile.
207 Swan St, Richmond VIC 3121 |(03) 9043 6823
Mon – Fri 6:30am – 4:00pm | Sat – Sun 8:00am – 4:00pm