‘This is Giovanni all over’: End of era for beloved CBD cafe
ONE of Gympie’s most beloved hangouts is about to undergo a major shift, with the popular Emilia’s Cafe in the middle of downsizing, rebranding and moving house.
The Mary St business is changing its identity to the Vespa Espresso Bar, saying goodbye to the name that has adorned its windows and walls for almost two decades.
Owner Jodi Giorno said the pandemic had put the final nail in a coffin, whose metaphorical foundations were laid by the disruption caused by the Upper Mary St beautification work.
“Thanks to the previous council and their mismanagement … we closed,” Ms Giorno said.
She said the months of lost income prompted the decision to shut for good at the end of this past financial year, but COVID-19 “brought forward our closure”.
She said the plan at the time was to lease out the whole building and walk away.
Now she is keeping at least part of the cafe for a new venture.
“What we decided to do was do was a flagship of Vespa Espresso Bar,” she said.
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“We’ll run it here because I own the building and I’m lucky enough … to be able to give it a try.”
The new beginning will coincide with the start of their 18th year in the region.
“It is an issue, but it’s not.”
She said her husband Giovanni, who tragically died in 2017 of a heart attack, “isn’t here anymore” – but that does not mean his presence will not still be felt.
“I keep him with the logo. I keep him with his Vespa, and he would have loved that.
“This is Giovanni all over.
“I’m not feeling weird for the Giovanni factor; it’s sad that space has to close but I do need to move forward.”
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The opportunity to reopen in the middle of the pandemic gave them the chance to explore what they might want to do with the new venture.
“We’re going to be doing alcohol shots in coffee, things like that.”
The cafe has its eyes on expanding its outdoor dining options, something which will likely help keep it afloat as the pandemic rages on.
And it has potential to become something much bigger.
“Then we’re looking at the possibility of opening a new one in Noosa early next year,” Ms Giorno said.
“And then the possibility of franchising.”