A new cafe on Scholl Street is looking to inject new life into Mandurah’s central business district and turn it in a healthy new direction.
Mataya Cafe, opened Monday by Natalie Adams and her team, specialises in a range of healthy eats and treats sourced farm-to-table and built on a notion of providing a healthy alternative for local business people.
Ms Adams, who was a scholar ballerina at the WA Ballet and a competitive bodybuilder before taking on the role of cafe owner, started the business because she hoped to provide a service based on her own view of healthy eating.
“Food and nutrition has always been very front-of-mind to me,” Ms Adams said.
“I moved to Mandurah about two years ago, and initially I found it really hard finding options, so I thought it would be a really great opportunity for us to fill that role.
“So what we’ve got is a selection of food and drinks that we’ve researched and sourced ourselves, as well as a commercial kitchen with professional chef.”
Ms Adams had never run a restaurant before – in fact, she had very little experience in hospitality. But that passion for good eating, as well as a deep experience with farming, has driven her.
“My background has been agriculture all my life,” she said.
“So I’ve worked as a farming advisor in cropping and nutrition, sort of watching crops grow. Having a really strong connection from paddock to plate is really important to me.”
In the end, what was more important to Ms Adams was the space: an oft-ignored corner on Scholl Street, right between Rivers and P&N Bank.
“I really thought this shop – the size of it, the courtyard, the businesses that surround it – there was just an opportunity here to create something really new,” she said.
“There is a lot of foot traffic in this area, but not usually foot traffic looking for food and coffee.
“And there’s a huge amount of people in this area who get half an hour to have lunch. They don’t want to eat takeaway for every meal, so we’re here.”
The opening of Mataya has come during a purple patch for Mandurah. The foreshore redevelopment is under way, and the new Mandurah Bridge is nearing completion. On top of this, many new businesses featuring innovative concepts have opened within the last two years, and are doing successfully. Ms Adams is glad to have the competition.
“It’s great to see all these other places come up at the same time, especially when they’re trying to push the same idea as you, because it shows something’s working,” Ms Adams said.
“I’m happy to have them here. Because in the end we just want to bring the same freshness into this place.”
Mataya is now open for business for breakfast and lunch. Check out their full menu at mataya-eatery.net