Just one question was bothering Vishal Oberoi after deciding to open a cafe in Goulburn: What to call it?
He talked it over with his father back in India who fondly remembered the tractor both used to drive on their farm in the Punjab region.
Cafe 5911, named after the tractor model, was borne. It is a symbol of gratitude for tireless workers. As Mr Oberoi explained, he didn't want an eatery named after himself but something that had meaning and sentiment. Quirkily, the model tractors adorning walls inside are handmade from thong material.
Goulburn MP Wendy Tuckerman officially opened the city's newest cafe on Thursday before some 20 invited guests. It replaces the former Roses Cafe in Montague Street, which is relocating to Verner Street, opposite Sts Peter and Paul's Cathedral.
Mr Oberoi bought the building and won approval for its fit-out in September.
Supervisor Mellanie Davis said he'd been looking to buy a cafe for several years and was drawn to the "iconic" Montague Street building.
"It's a really good location close to the courthouse, the park and the markets when they return," she said.
"Vishal is all about Goulburn and helping other businesses and people...We want everyone to feel comfortable and welcome."
It's been quite a journey for the 31-year-old. Born and raised in the Punjab region, he moved to Australia eight years ago and used his hospitality background working at Dominos in Preston, Sydney. After a brief stint working in IT in Melbourne he was offered a managerial role at Dominos, Queanbeyan. Three years ago he moved to Goulburn and managed the two Marulan Hungry Jacks outlets. More recently he managed Goulburn Hungry Jacks.
"It was always my dream to start a cafe and do the job morning to night," Mr Oberoi told The Post.
On Thursday he thanked people for their support, including Cr Carol James.
Cafe supervisor Sarah Rucker said her boss was initially nervous about opening a new business amid COVID-19, especially given CBD shop closures.
"But he was positive about getting it opened. It's good to see a few more shops opening up now," she said.
The eatery will employ 24 casual and fulltime staff.
Mrs Tuckerman also stressed it had been a tough time for business but said "there was light at the end of the tunnel."
The cafe has its own 'Merino' coffee brand, named after the farming region, and serves fresh salads, sandwiches, wraps, seafood, cakes, slices, Ben and Jerry's ice-cream and more.
"We want everyone to feel comfortable and welcome," Ms Rucker said.
"It doesn't matter how much money you have. The cafe is not about competition with other businesses but delivering good food and company."
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