14 March 2024

Forget babycinos - there's a dedicated 'kid's cafe' coming to Canberra

| James Coleman
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kids playing

Kids will be able to run their own ‘shop’. Photo: Little Amigos, Facebook.

Cafes are very much adult affairs. Hot drinks. Fragile crockery. Tables and chairs you’re meant to sit at with your legs in front, and not – as children prefer – every which way.

But Rebecca Zhou wants to change all this. Together with her business partner David Hu, she’s the founder of Little Amigos, described as a “kid’s cafe”.

Sydney-siders will already know the brief. The first Little Amigos opened up in Carlingford Court in February last year, and “it’s very, very popular every weekend”. But Rebecca thought the next logical point of expansion was further south.

“We found in the Canberra market that there is no such kind of cafe catering to the age group between one and seven years old,” she says.

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Construction is still underway, but Little Amigos opens in the Canberra Outlet Centre in Fyshwick on Friday, 15 March. And while Sydney’s theme is ‘enchanted forest’, ours will be ‘flower garden’.

The cafe part will still be very much there, with the usual staples of coffee and sweets on the menu, but there’ll also be pizza and pasta options and their speciality, crumbed fish tacos.

“Crispy fish, fresh fixings, all wrapped up in a soft shell with delish aioli – we’re not squidding,” the Facebook page reads.

But the rest is pure playground. A ball pit, slides, a cosplay zone, a play kitchen, a farm and construction site, and a mini train ride.

“We offer a variety of interactive zones that encourage kids to explore their imaginations and develop social and moral skills, and most importantly, have a lot of fun,” Rebecca says.

Little Amigos is represented by mascots, too. There’s Peri the panda, Lola the rabbit and Hugo the fox, “each with unique personalities and interests, inspiring the kids to find their own inner spot in between”.

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The idea for Little Amigos was inspired by Rebecca’s own experiences while trying to navigate shopping expeditions with kids.

“My business partner has a kid around two years old, and whenever we go to a shopping centre, we find there are not many places offering activities for younger kids,” she says.

“We want to build lasting memories with our little ones, so when parents come to Little Amigos, they can feel it’s a safe environment for the kids to play while the parents relax, catch up with friends, or play with their little ones too.”

Entry is free for those aged 0 to 6 months and those aged 6 to 12 months provided they have a sibling one-year-old or over. Pricing then ranges between $12 and $35 for children aged one to seven on a weekday and $15 and $38 on a weekend, depending on the length of the stay.

Birthday party packages are also available, starting at $688 for a single room on a weekday. These packages include “everything”, according to Rebecca, such as food, decorations, balloons and gift bags.

“We prepare everything, so you can just come in and enjoy. No need to clean up anything at the end either.”

Little Amigos plans to open another store in Penrith in June and Melbourne at a date to be confirmed.

Little Amigos opens Saturday, 16 March, in the Canberra Outlet Centre, and then from 10 am to 6 pm daily. Visit the website for more information.

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