What does the idea of an all-day eatery bring to mind for you? In my mind, I picture a diner like you’d see in Twin Peaks, serving black drip coffee alongside eggs sunny-side up. It’s a place that doesn’t necessarily serve the highest quality products, but ticks a number of necessary boxes nonetheless. In Melbourne, many all-day eateries are largely reminiscent of this style—places that do a lot, but not very well—which is all well and good when you’re hungover on a Tuesday and just need some damn eggs, but I’m here to tell you that there’s a better way: enter Archie’s All Day.
Opening its doors just over a month ago on Gertrude Street in Fitzroy, Archie’s All Day (named after owner Anthony Brem’s newborn son, Archie) is a many-hit wonder that is setting out to feed and sate hungry and thirsty folks from breakfast ’til after dinner drinks. It’s an ambitious business plan, but one we’re seeing more and more around Melbourne with places like Sun Moth Canteen & Bar also creating environments in which there’s something for every craving.
While this is his first all-day space, Brem is no stranger to the hospitality world, having owned and run Bluebird Espresso on Johnston Street in Collingwood for the past four years—a haven for hearty and delicious breakfasts alongside simple but delicious coffee service. Both Bluebird and Brem could be described as quiet achievers; there’s not much in the way of hype surrounding this longstanding establishment, but it’s continuously packed with people waiting for a table on the weekend, and I can vouch that their food is worth the wait. Over the years, Brem and his team have built a cult following around his delightful mix of quality coffee, delicious drinks (watermelon and raspberry crush, anyone?), and eclectic food offerings: from brioche French toast to dukkah eggs, or toasted cornbread with salsa fresca.
The diverse and delicious offerings that are part of the success of Bluebird have been brought over to Archie’s All Day, and kicked up a notch in the process. Chatting to Brem, he explained to me that his goal for Archie’s is “to provide a consistently pleasing environment for people of all ages and backgrounds to come and enjoy for many years to come.” Is there any more admirable goal?
The space itself (formerly a bar) was gutted and redesigned by Matt Goodman, taking design elements from Bluebird and other inspirations to create a light, airy, and comfortable fit-out. It’s a deceptively spacious venue, with a number of different micro-atmospheres and seating styles throughout, from high bench seating near the bar, to cosy booths in the vicinity of the kitchen, to a delightful Astroturfed outdoor area out the back. Bangs Boutique took care of the furniture design, while builder Jimmy Timber (yes, that’s his real name) managed many of the design details.
The food menu is split simply into three categories—”Morning”, “In Between”, and “Evening”—with all sorts of delicious creations to try. The Morning menu (running until 3 p.m.) offers up things like huevos sucios (dirty eggs) with tater tots, avocado, tomatillo salsa, and fried eggs, or a vanilla bean oatmeal with banana and blueberry—while In Between brings grilled flank steak or the “Juicy Lucy” Wagyu burger to make your decisions even harder from 10 a.m. If American Sprudge readers are thinking, “Hey, this sounds like U.S. diner food, “just know that American comfort food trends are quite hot right now in Melbourne, just as Australia’s own coffee & breakfast “brekkie” culture takes hold in cities like New York and Los Angeles.
To keep the masses caffeinated throughout the day, Proud Mary coffee is carefully brewed through a powder-coated matte black Synesso Sabre espresso machine, with a Mazzer Robur E grinder for espresso, and a Mahlköenig EK 43 grinder and Kalita Wave combo for filter coffee. Hardly your standard dumpy diner mug!
In the evening, the offering turns into something you might see at an upmarket tapas bar, with sharing plates of oysters, curried cauliflower and paneer croquettes, or crispy kipflers available before you dive into a main of coq au Riesling or even a crispy hapuka with charred leeks. As well as coffee, an array of teas, juices, smoothies, cocktails, beers, and wine are available during the day and night—you can try a Negroni on tap, a pint of “Archie’s Ale”, or a glass of Chenin Blanc sourced from Millton (an iconic biodynamic winemaker in New Zealand).
While Fitzroy has long been an area where cafes and bars abound, new establishments like Archie’s All Day—places where good food, wine, and coffee can be enjoyed in tandem—play an important role in further invigorating the area. In a city where the number of food and drink venues can be almost stifling for the indecisive few, it’s nice to know there’s a place offering a bit of everything your heart desires, under one roof, and available all day.