RUNAWAY SUCCESS: Esther Bundellu, co-owner of The Pocket Espresso Bar at Moffat Beach.
RUNAWAY SUCCESS: Esther Bundellu, co-owner of The Pocket Espresso Bar at Moffat Beach. Patrick Woods

Tiny, popular beachside café set to expand

WHEN Esther Bundellu drove down the hill in a removals truck to Moffat Beach for the first time, she couldn't believe her eyes.

The co-owner of The Pocket Espresso Bar and Guru Life in Rosemount, had picked Moffat Beach as a place to live "off a map” with her husband Scott.

"We were like, 'where's the nearest surf break to Brisbane?' And that was it,” she said.

The pair had decided their former Gold Coast home was "no place to raise kids” after Esther fell pregnant, so they picked up and moved north to Moffat.

"I couldn't imagine a more beautiful place,” she said.

Now Esther plans to grow old at Moffat, she said.

Judging by the success of The Pocket, which she started with her brother Jonny and now runs with Scott while Jonny runs the family-friendly cafe Guru Life, her customers might be counting on it.

"We kind of started off thinking, 'it's such a beautiful beach, we'll set it up just for takeaway and espresso, and maybe we'll do some have-here coffees too and some quick and easy food', but it escalated so quickly,” she said.

"People were just lingering and didn't want to leave the shop.

"Next minute, we're open nights and we have a bar and do a dinner service. It's been such an amazing development.”

Jonny even started roasting his own coffee: Guru beans.

Esther said she and Jonny took over the shopfront which had been a general store, next to the newsagency at Moffat Beach, four years ago.

The business owners this year won the Sunshine Coast Business Award for food and beverage, receiving equal top marks with Kawana Waters Surf Club.

A graphic designer by trade, Esther hadn't intended to start a cafe but then the shopfront's lease came up, she said.

"I was working at home and drinking a lot of coffee because I had a baby who didn't like to sleep,” Esther said. "When the lease came up it was perfect. Within a day I'd drawn up a design for the shop, done a logo, picked a name.”

The tiny cafe is now packed most days and nights, with a queue for coffee stretching out the door for six hours on weekends, so Esther is excited that plans for extra seating space look set to bear fruit after owners of the former newsagent next door, which has been vacant for a year, agreed to lease their space.

"We're so tiny and you see people come to the door and look for a seat, and we're packed so they go somewhere else,” she said.

"But this is going to give us the opportunity to share what we do with more people.”

Guru Life is also gaining a huge following, with its huge deck and "food that's like pieces of art”.

"People will go out to Guru Life and spend hours,” Esther said.

Esther says the best thing about having the cafes is she and Jonny, and her husband Scott who came on board as evening manager recently, get to make people happy every day.

"Everyone knows that business is hard,” she said. "But Jonny and I absolutely love what we do.

"We're so passionate about the reason that we started. We want to make people happy and we get to do that which is pretty awesome. Our philosophy is really clear now, and with every big question you can refer to that.”

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