Was opening a new Fitzroy pit stop a lifelong dream come true for owner, Shaun Hossack? Not entirely. Known as a schemer of elaborate schemes, it was more of a really-awesome-idea-he-just-had come true, but damn it all if it hasn’t payed off in spades- and even more profitable things like customers. Juddy Roller may be another back-alley-lurker and milk-crate-toter, but there is also a heavy focus here on art based happenings rather than on their menu alone, which is a hugely welcome relief in a same-same café landscape. Thanks to Hossack’s strong links to the art and music scene, the converted garage is a space where you will see an ever-rotating selection of installation artworks, graffiti murals and music events that spill out into the adjoining alley.
Hossack is a passionate advocate for the graffiti medium, so the interior and exterior feature café walls will be a constantly evolving canvas for aspiring local artists, and a showcase for some more established names like John Aslanidis -- who is hopefully next in line to tag the premises. The aim is to make sure that this is a living space, and also to win over those who misguidedly think that graffiti is no more than the trashy scribbling of vandals who enjoy kicking puppies and shooting heroine into their eyeballs.
On the consumables front, Hossack thought about going ballistic with siphons, pourovers and single origins hand-picked by underprivileged monkeys, but then he took a long hard look at himself and decided that he was not that guy, and a plain old well-crafted Supreme espresso would do just fine. Happily, the guy’s got skills, so it does. Similarly, the menu's charm is in its brevity, but there’s a decent, cheesy croque monsieur ($9), stacked breakfast sandwiches for both the herbi- and carni-vore ($7.50, $10.50), and a nutty bircher muesli with goji berries ($7.50) to munch on as you ponder the whimsical and edgy backdrop to your morning brew.
Despite the artsy vibe, there is very little pretention here, so feel free to drop in and drop your opinions judgment free. This is welcome addition to both the Fitzroy café, and cultural, scene which we didn’t think was possible, so a big old “well I’ll be” to that.