24 May 2024

Five minutes with Kerri-Jayne Neyenhuis, Ariah 62 Coffee Shop

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Kerri-Jayne Neyenhuis

Kerri-Jayne Neyenhuis, owner of Ariah 62 Coffee Shop. Photo: Chris Roe.

Who is Kerri-Jayne Neyenhuis? We moved to Ardlethan in 2003 and soon after opened Ariah 62 Coffee Shop. It was sold twice, and we bought it back in 2009. My family moved from town to town. I love living in Ardlethan and the community spirit. Even though it’s a small town, there’s lots to do. It’s absolutely fantastic.

The best thing about being a local cafe is knowing all the locals’ coffee by heart. Being on the highway’s crossways, we get plenty of travellers in. It’s the perfect location. We are central – 80 km to Griffith, 90 km to Wagga, and only 60 to 70 km between West Wyalong, Temora and Leeton. There are great facilities directly across the road for travellers, such as free camping and overnight caravan stays.

Best recent dining experience? Mr Lawrence in Wagga.

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Favourite cuisine? Favourite cuisine? Good question. Can I say them all? I’ll have to say Italian and my favourite dish is risotto.

The ingredient I cannot live without: I can’t live without cheese.

Most embarrassing pantry/fridge item: I do my own stewed apple. My jars of stewed apples have been there for a while.

strawberry drink at coffee shop

Ariah 62 Coffee Shop offers an array of drink options. Photos: Ariah 62 Coffee Shop Ardlethan.

How many Weet-Bix do I do: When I have them, I have one or two. And it is completely old school, where I have them with honey or Vegemite on them.

Best coffee spot in Ardlethan? Ariah 62, because we’re the only one!

Favourite coffee? I like a piccolo.

Ariah 62 Coffee Shop in Ardlethan was opened in 2003

Ariah 62 Coffee Shop in Ardlethan was opened in 2003. Photo: Chris Roe.

What’s your coffee blend? Quandary Coffee.

What’s the weirdest coffee order you’ve received? Just around Christmastime, someone ordered half-strength decaf, half macadamia and half oats.

Next big thing in the Ardlethan food scene: We’ve actually introduced fine dining. Once a month, we’ll have fine dining, and we will try to start matching it up with wineries so we can have a full experience. We are in the middle of the food bowl, so we’ll do that. We love cooking and saw that Ardlethan is a nice place to travel to. We get people to park their caravans across the road. They can walk across, have a nice dining experience, and then return to their caravans.

Slow cooked shredded chicken, coleslaw on a damper bun with a side of wedges

The slow-cooked shredded buffalo chicken is served on a damper bun and comes with coleslaw and a side of wedges.

Favourite place to lunch in Ardlethan: Ariah 62 is the only place to have lunch.

A must-try on our menu: We’re pretty famous for the avocado smashes and the bacon and egg rolls.

Most used ingredient at Ariah 62 Coffee Shop: Bacon.

Delicious waffles with ice cream, passionfruit, strawberry and banana.

Delicious waffles with ice cream, passionfruit, strawberry and banana. Photo: Ariah 62 Coffee Shop – Ardlethan.

Our top pick from our desserts: Apple and sour cream slice.

My biggest culinary influence: Julie Goodwin. I used to flat with her and we used to have little cook-offs!

Favourite cookbook: At the moment, I’m going through each one of the recipes from The Australian Heritage Cookbook by Lynette G Roach. It’s a massive book printed back in the 1960s. I like looking at the old recipes and reliving them. We will pick something from the cookbook and modernise it a bit and put it on the menu.

Creamy pumpkin soup and toasted sourdough

Delicious creamy pumpkin soup served with toasted sourdough. Photo: Ariah 62 Coffee Shop – Ardlethan.

Who I admire in the Ardlethan food and wine scene: Neil Druce of Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory. They were one of the leaders in organic farming here in Ardlethan.

What are this week’s specials at Ariah 62 Coffee Shop? We’ve got tiramisu pancakes, smoked salmon, frittata and salad. We also have almond-crumbed chicken salad. We post our specials on Facebook.

Death-row meal: Probably risotto with a piccolo.

Ariah 62 Coffee Shop has also started offering fine dining services.

Ariah 62 Coffee Shop has also started offering fine dining services. Photo: Chris Roe.

Where I am travelling to next: Going to the mountains – Mt Kosciuszko. We’re doing a hike.

Dream destination: My dream destination is the Netherlands. I want to go there and try all the food. It’s all organic.

My biggest fear: My biggest fear is snakes.

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My least-favourite food: Lamb fry.

My top-three cooking tips: Cook with real butter. Use fresh organic ingredients and seasonal products.

Ariah 62 Coffee Shop is at 62 Ariah Street, Ardlethan, and is open Wednesday to Sunday from 9 am to 2:30 pm.

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