Six months prior to opening, owners George and Pia stripped out what was a hairdressing studio to create the urban space focusing on recyclable and sustainable materials. “It had wooden floors and a second level…. so we pulled out the floor, built the bar…my dad built the concrete tops”.
Its functionality is reflected in its colourful history of having once been a tailoring shop for gentlemen of Melbourne. “The story goes, that guys would come in here for a pint then go out the back and have a suit fitted, so we have converted the old tailor’s workshop into a baking space”. Tomboy was conceived for baking out the back and creating an inviting, home style cafe with vintage flair.
“It’s always been the taste that Pia and I have, and a lot of the stuff we already had and owned in our houses. The red truck used to be Pia’s mums, the milk bar sign was picked up and used to be on Smith street, and the books, ‘the famous five series’ (Enid Blyton) are all mine from when I was little. It’s all stuff that meant something to us and we just expanded from what our original taste was.”
For George and Pia, Tomboy is a passion project, integrating their love for baking with a community focus. The undeniable Tomboy mascot, a giant moustached, hipster-baby artwork named ‘Baby Moses’ was drawn on the white feature wall of the cafe by street artist and friend DRAB. Tomboy will continue to feature local artwork, encouraging friends and staff to present their art in this makeshift gallery wall.
In the future, Tomboy looks to expand both functionally and creatively. “In the next couple years we hope to have a Tomboy bar out the back and do boutique beers and wood-oven pizzas”. So, Smith Street… watch this space.
This post has been reproduced with permission from The Home Journal