Established in 1947, The General Store in Byron Bay has long been a place for locals and travellers to gather, eat, drink and buy goods. The building is one of the oldest commercial premises in Byron and has experienced many incarnations over its 70-plus years. I recall stopping in for a Hunza Roll in 1999 while on our honeymoon at Wategos. I didn’t even know what a Hunza Roll was! I was used to meat pies and sausage rolls from the bakeries of our hometown in outback Queensland. The ‘vego sausage roll’ as we then described it was delicious and a real welcome to Byron. The site was then Mac’s Milk Bar for many, many years before it was given its most recent lease on life as The General Store in December last year.
Set on busy Bangalow Road, The General Store is open seven days from 6.30am – 2.00pm. The café continues to attract locals and travellers for its all day menu that now has a bit of a health-conscious streak. The menu also embraces local producers (thumbs up!) and caters for all sorts of diet plans including Vegan and Gluten Free options.
The owners of The General Store have an emphasis on being eco aware too, with a commitment to reduce waste and the café’s overall impact on the environment through initiatives like paper and corn starch straws, solar panels powering 75%-85% of their needs, BYO cup discounts and even discounts for visitors who walk or ride to the café!
The General Store theme is coastal fresh with white walls and murals, beach umbrellas, recycled timber stools and tables scattered inside and out with potted succulents, palms and even a papaya tree and a swing. The outside seating is under a covered awning and verandah where there is also a cute kids’ play area. Inside there are shared tables and window seating to watch the passing action and catch the breeze.
The all-day menu at The General Store is perfectly under complicated. The B&E is a great rendition with delicious house made relish and the organic rustic rolls they use at The General Store are next level.
Meanwhile The Lordy is a good ‘morning after’ option (if you get my drift) featuring a free range sunny side up egg, local bacon, organic spinach, potato cake, aioli and cheddar on an organic rustic roll.
The WASA B.L.T. is a favourite of Mr GFAF’s. It features a free-range chicken ‘schnitty’ and local bacon with Coopers Shoot tomato, lettuce and house made wasabi mayo.
I’m a fan of The Magic Mushie and I can’t believe it’s vegan. How they make their vegan mayo stumps me? With the help of Google I think I have worked out that chickpea water is key. Anyway, it’s delicious! If you’re after something on the side the Waffle Fries are fun and the Rustic Kumara Frieswith aioli are great to share.
For something outside the burger range, a Smoothie or Bowl might be more to your taste. The Peanut Butter Cacao Bowl is filling and rich but truly moreish after a workout featuring Byron Bay Crunchy Peanut Butter (only the best!), blended with banana, almond milk and local Bare Blends organic cacao cinnamon protein topped with coconut, chia seeds, granola and seasonal fruit. For something less sweet, the gluten free Brekkie Box is filling and laden with greens, sweet potato, sauerkraut, gluten free grains and a free range poached egg for fuel.
Kids aren’t forgotten with a variety of toast and milk shake options and there is a glass cabinet with daily fresh pastries to tempt.
The General Store offers all the usual coffee and tea options (remember your own cup!) as well as cold drinks including SOL juices and Bucha of Byron Kombucha.
I like The General Store for its local, fresh, uncomplicated food. Next time you drive past make sure you stop in – don’t be put off by the crowds – there’s plenty of room for everyone. Better still, why not walk or ride there for that added discount.