A historic 19th century building that has been converted into a funky new outdoor cafe has livened up Narrandera’s town centre and brought a new style of cuisine to the Riverina.
Married couple Ozzie and Cassie Fikri opened The Yard in March 2023, after moving to the Riverina from the Southern Highlands.
“We found the Highlands was getting a bit busy for us; we wanted to escape from the hustle and bustle,” Ozzie said. “When we saw the the value for money we got here in Narrandera, we made the move.
“We decided to buy the old Commonwealth Bank building on East Street, which was built in the 1880s.
“In around 1986, when the bank moved, it became a video store … this place was such good value, we bought it for $450,000.
“Where we’re from, you can’t get a garage for that price.”
Ozzie is from Northern Cyprus in Europe, which has a predominately Turkish population.
“We offer Cypriot items on our menu, which is a good way of saying Turkish Greek,” he said.
The menu offers souvlaki and falafel, as well as Mexican burritos, gelatos, desserts and more traditional Australian cafe dishes. There are also vegan and gluten free options.
“If you’re coming here for the first time, I would definitely recommend the lamb wrap; the meat comes from the local butcher Narrandera Gourmet Meats who are across the road,” Ozzie said.
“If you’re a vegetarian, then I’d go for the falafel.”
The cafe has already received a glowing review on the Visit NSW tourism website.
“Indulge in authentic, old-school gelato, succulent lamb and chicken souvlakis, luscious desserts and more. The cafe takes pride in serving really good coffee, ensuring that every sip is an experience to savour. For those seeking refreshing beverages, their iced teas are a perfect choice, offering a variety of flavours to quench your thirst,” the site states.
Cass takes orders inside a retro-style caravan and food is served in a colourful beach-vibe courtyard adorned with art.
“We’ve always been in hospitality. We did want to do a food truck, but not necessarily going to the football oval and moving all around,” Cass said.
“So we ended up here and made it an oasis.
“People come by and tell us all about the history of this place. We hear things like, ‘I used to work here at the bank’ and ‘I got proposed to here.’”
Behind the caravan, Ozzie cooks the meat dishes on a barbecue.
“I like to use a lot of oregano,” he said.
The couple also live in the residence and say they’ve been made to feel more than welcome in town.
Ozzie said they would be offering something special in the coming months.
“We’re looking forward to introducing our homemade gelato for the summer; we already sell it, but we have just bought our own gelato making machine.”
The Yard cafe, located at 80 East Street, is open from 8 am seven days a week. On Friday and Saturday nights it’s open until 10 pm. More information can be found on the cafe’s Facebook page.