New Byrnes cafe no pie in the sky dream for Connors family
A new coffee shop in North Mackay is serving up the perfect blend of great coffee, famous pies and good service.
Brothers Adrian and Damien Connors, and their mum Lyn Connors, are behind Byrnes, a corner coffee shop opposite the Mater Private Hospital, set to open next week.
It is the first external cafe site to offer Byrnes pies and pastries after the Connors family bought the iconic brand about 18 months ago.
The Connors have a proven track record having established and grown The Dispensary in Wood St, which recently was voted Mackay's best cafe.
Ahead of the official opening next Tuesday, the Connors gave the Daily Mercury an exclusive peek into the new cafe which Adrian said was the first external site to blend his family's food and catering company and the iconic Byrnes brand.
"We've had this discussion for many years now with various people and it was probably 18 months ago that (centre owner) David Aprile approached us that this site was becoming available," Adrian said.
"It was always intended to be a cafe but never got there. We looked at it and it was very suitable for what we had.
"Byrnes was always a food business - pies, pastries and sweets - and we were a family food business as well … called Any Food, we've combined them to become Byrnes Good Food Ready to Eat."
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The cafe will tap into what the Connors described as an untapped market on the southbound side of the Bruce Highway, the visitors and workers at the neighbouring hospital, and the sprawling residential area off Sams Rd.
"Outside of what the hospital has to offer, there isn't enough food offerings on this side of the highway so it's going to fill the void for the businesses and the people within the distances of here because it is easy to access and very central," Adrian said.
The final touches are being added to the cafe this week before its doors officially open on Tuesday.
"It was meant to (open) at the end of last year so COVID-19 pushed back the start date of the cafe a little, but we're scheduled to open Tuesday next week," Damien said.
It is an exciting development for Lyn who described her family as the "caretakers" of the Byrnes brand after buying it in 2019.
"It (Byrnes) has been a family run business for 89 years and we have been caretakers or owners for the past 18 months," she said.
"We know the family and it was nice of them to be able to hand it over to is; they trust us and what we are doing.
"It was a bit emotional, bittersweet, but I think they felt comfortable.
"It was hard for them to give it up but we were ready to take over."
Damien said while the immediate focus was on the Willetts Rd cafe, there was the potential for more sites in the future, ideally in the Northern Beaches and Whitsundays markets.
"This is the first cafe of its kind," he said.
"We are looking at a few different fields and the plan is to duplicate this design in multiple locations across Mackay and the Whitsundays."
Byrnes will have an online ordering system to increase the convenience of the cafe, and will open 6am - 3pm weekdays, and 6am - 2.30pm Saturday.
It officially opens Tuesday, February 16.
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