Scattered throughout the suburbs of Perth lie many an abandoned deli; once neighbourhood epicentres for acquiring items with the likes of the daily newspaper, Bubble O’ Bills, a suspicious selection of cold cuts from a fridge which most likely didn’t reach food safety standards, and loo paper that had been on the shelf for God only knew how long. But that’s just the charm of delis, they were emporiums that never failed to fulfill one’s desire – Perth’s version of Hogwarts’ Room of Requirement, if you will.
It was a true joy riding a rickety bike to the end of the road, without a helmet of course, and picking out a variety of lollies from the big old plastic vats – something that probably wouldn’t be considered Covid-friendly in this day and age. Although those times have passed – deli refurbishments are on the rise, bringing new life to the nostalgic, and may we say, historic spaces.
The latest corner store to undergo the whole metamorphic treatment is that of 64A Scarborough Beach Road in North Perth, now home to Hank’s Corner – a specialty coffee shop offering fresh fare straight from the cabinet and grab’n’go-style food options, much like a traditional deli.
Hank’s Corner owner, Henry Bristow shares,”I walked into 64A Scarborough Beach Road with no set plan but to spend around a couple of months doing my own bespoke fit-out, as I have a love for carpentry and DIY.
“The building threw up some wonderful surprises in the form of the green tiles on the fascia and the hand-painted advert for ‘WITCH SOAP’ behind my counter.
“I sourced a bunch of recycled and reclaimed wood to produce the counter, shelves, storage and kid’s area and tried not to mess with the original building too much – it was built in 1918,” Henry continues.
“I’ve been in the hospitality industry for over 20 years, from the UK to Australia and a few places in between. I’ve managed and built businesses for other people and I’ve been on the lookout quietly for an opportunity to have a crack at my own business.
“We’ve been serving food where the focus is on grab’n’go ready things like continental rolls and sausage rolls. We have a healthy dose of gluten-free options and are also reviving the Welsh Rarebit.
“The Rarebit recipe is one I learned at my first hospitality job over 20 years ago at a hotel in East Anglia, England called The Hoste Arms,” Henry recalls.
“As for our gluten-free options, we stock several from wholesaler, Aunty Barb’s – sausage rolls, brownies, and banana bread, to name a few. And vegan-wise, we usually have a vegan bagel with whatever is fresh and good.
“We are very hot on reusables and recycling – our takeaway cups and lids are home-compostable, and we also send as much stuff as we can to a commercial composter.
“We also recycle bottle caps and coffee bags through various small initiatives and all of our crockery and cutlery are from op shops,” Henry notes.
“And we have excellent banter. Because it’s a small place we have a genuine team feeling, and that comes through to the customer. So many places these days struggle to instill that camaraderie with big teams of casual workers.
“My vision for Hank’s Corner is just to provide a comfy, friendly space for the local community to enjoy and spend time in.