When you have a child, some things change.
Take dining out, for example. It becomes a whole new ball game requiring management, patience and even defense strategies. Sometimes you feel the need to don combat gear to even venture outside the house, let alone going out to dine!
After working in the hospitality industry for several years and with young children herself, Aneta Eilmann realised that child-friendly cafés were rare. There were very few places that you could go to meet up with friends where children were welcomed and catered for, rather than staff pursing their lips at the mere mention of ‘child’.
Addressing the gap in the market, Aneta and her husband Dennis opened the Sunlight Drive Café in 2019, our only child-centric café on the Gold Coast.
Of course, adults are welcome, but the major focus is on children.
What makes this café so kid friendly?
Firstly, the layout and facilities. There are two main areas in the café: an outside patio area of tables and chairs and an inside area where the main feature is two toy-laden enclosed children’s play areas, one for Under 2s, the other for Over 2s. Dining tables and lounges fringe the play area so that parents can easily supervise their children.
At one end, there’s a reading corner tucked away beneath a bay window, where we find older children quietly reading.
The menu, too, caters well for children, with at least six options for Under 6s and Under 12s.
“The emphasis is on healthier food options,” says Dennis, who comes from a fitness training background. “We have lots of keto, vegetarian and vegan options marked on the menu, such as Quinoa and roasted sweet potato with rocket salad and two poached eggs. All the bliss balls, muffins, cakes, pies and brownies you see in the cabinet are made in house, healthy versions with minimal sugar,” he says.
While parents and carers are well catered for with burgers, bowls and keto plates, kids can chomp down on housemade pancakes, toasties or picnic ‘plates’. There are lots of with shakes, fresh juices, Lavazza coffee and even babycinos to accompany the meals.
With the largest free undercover play area we’ve seen in a café on the Gold Coast, how does it all work?
“There are only a few simple rules,” Dennis tells us. “No outside food (except for baby food) and parents must supervise their own children. Also, no food and drinks are allowed in the play areas.”
This is a café, after all, a small family business based on the philosophy that children should be well catered for so that parents can relax and enjoy lunch and some social time.
We can only applaud this initiative that gives a little help to mums and dads.
2/2 Sunlight Drive, Burleigh Waters Ph: 0479 156 712 Open Mon – Fri 7.30am – 3.30am