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New cafe at Stromlo?

By Dacquiri - 13 July 2009 12

Has anyone tried the new eating place at Mt Stromlo (Michael’s of Stromlo, I think it is?)

Haven’t seen any reviews or comments…. no one has really made a go of it there since the demise of Red Belly Black….

What’s Your opinion?


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12 Responses to
New cafe at Stromlo?
GardeningGirl 9:46 am 14 Jul 09

Pandy said :

. . . although the visotrs centre was open the main static telescope was gone and there was nothing much to look at. The food got worse (how can you do bad chips for example?) and no wonder the cafe closed.

I never thought the displays were that extensive to warrant a return visit, and I found the entrance through the cafe rather odd as if the displays were an afterthought and the main purpose was the dining venue. Even before the fire it seemed like the full potential of the place had not been realised. The reason we used to go back was for the food and the location. The open nights sounded interesting too. I still think there’s great potential there for a facility combining astronomy, dining, great location with views, bushwalking/mountainbiking and history, which would be attractive to locals and tourists alike. Sometimes I despair at the lack of imagination in this town 🙁

niftydog 9:17 am 14 Jul 09

Temporary cafes during MTB Worlds, probably, but likely to be only in the event village at the bottom during the three main days of competition. Although some enterprising people might do well to drag their coffee van to the top of the downhill course for the weekend.

I don’t know if I’d call it a “plan” for a chairlift – it’s just an idea they are likely to suggest in the draft master plan. But it’s very expensive in and of itself and would need significant spending in other areas to make it even vaguely viable.

Oh, and not ALL MTBers shun the uphill stuff, only the downhillers whose bikes are literally impossible to ride uphill.

Aubergine said :

In case niftydog hasn’t found it, there is a tap at the top…

Ahh, gracias Señor.

Pandy 8:47 am 14 Jul 09

After the fires the owners of RBB sold-up and moved to Japan to build ski lodges. The cafe eventually found a new owner but it was always a struggle to keep get the numbers through as although the visotrs centre was open the main static telescope was gone and there was nothing much to look at. The food got worse (how can you do bad chips for example?) and no wonder the cafe closed.

GardeningGirl 10:01 pm 13 Jul 09

We used to go up there for lunch. I had an interstate visitor ask me just recently if the cafe had re-opened yet. Another place that seems to have turned into a wasted opportunity.
This seems like a good idea.
http://www.abc.net.au/stateline/act/content/2006/s2421674.htm

Dacquiri 9:05 pm 13 Jul 09

Well, too bad about the non-cafe — it was always a great view up there, and the gift shop was OK, too. I think there were some post-fire insurance issues that the ANU had to sort out, and now I guess it just all seems too hard. Nice spot, anyway — hope they at least do something with it for the World MTB Championships.

– Dacquiri

Aubergine 6:07 pm 13 Jul 09

I suspect you’re referring to the staff “cafe” inside the funky new extension at the back of the admin building (the old Solar Observatory). This looks quite basic and is, of course, only running on weekdays and probably for only a few hours a day. I doubt the public can use it.

The old RBB cafe seemed to do quite well, but it really needed the visitors’ centre to be open as well. If the ANU isn’t reopening that then I have grave concerns for a reopened public cafe. About the only way you’d make it work would be as a cut-down “Kaldi” type operation, or a coffee van like the one that operates near the Carillon. Shame because it’s a top spot, looking west into the sunset especially.

I’m sure there will be temporary venues aplenty in September when the World MTB Championships hit Stromlo. Did you know there are plans for a chairlift up Stromlo (to save MTBers all that tedious uphill pedalling)? Not this year though.

In case niftydog hasn’t found it, there is a tap at the top (well nearly), on the outside wall at the front of the closed visitors’ centre. There’s also one at the hilltop just SW of the admin building.

warall 5:07 pm 13 Jul 09

So nobody drives up the mountain and gets disappointed there is no cafe at Mt. Stromlo Observatory. The Visitor’s centre is also shut following the fires. There are no strong plans to reopen this centre as it has not performed economically unfortunately. There are around 60 staff + students present on the mountain.

Rumours abound about the subsidised cafe at the water treatment facility (experienced dramatic growth now it is the “site office” for the Cotter Dam renewal… $1.50 caps if you can get in there I hear. Anyone had the chance to have a look up there?

Dacquiri 5:04 pm 13 Jul 09

Saw it mentioned in an online ‘This Week in Canberra’, but it may have been not exactly recent.

– Dacquiri

niftydog 4:46 pm 13 Jul 09

I don’t think there’s quite as many people/students up at the observatory as you might think, Ozi.

The cafe was traditionally a roadies hang out, build it and they will come. They are too late to catch the “Tour Try-hard” season though.

As a MTBer, all I really want at the top is a tap! The thought of coffee and cake before taking on the descent doesn’t exactly thrill me.

Ozi 3:31 pm 13 Jul 09

isn’t that Michelles? 😛 Anyways, i’m sure a place up there would do a decent trade with the resident uni students and the mountain bikers…

ant 2:49 pm 13 Jul 09

I hope it’s not that Michaels chain that is in all the malls, serving stodgey cakes!

niftydog 2:31 pm 13 Jul 09

I don’t think there’s anything going on up there at the moment. Where’d you hear about “Michael’s”?

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