An Indian-born family, aided by a famous Griffith dancer, have vowed to continue the legacy of Griffith’s popular Amanti Di Caffe shop, after taking ownership of the business.
Every day for the past 15 years, visitors entering the Griffith Central shopping mall have had to navigate their way around a large scrum of coffee lovers, eagerly waiting for their order.
Panic would have set in when news hit the streets that longtime owners Tim and Elise McIntosh were selling the cafe.
But Gary Toor, his brother Lala and Lala’s wife Mandy have not only taken over the business, they’ve kept the existing staff and remained faithful to the original menu, with a few additions.
“I studied business management, we wanted to start running something small, this was the perfect place,” Gary said.
“Everyone [in Griffith] knows it.”
In a Facebook post announcing the transition, outgoing owner Tim McIntosh said he was leaving the business in good hands.
“We are both incredibly proud of how far we have come with our business and are grateful to our staff, our extremely loyal customers, suppliers, our awesome coffee company and most of all our family.
“To the Toor Family … you are surrounded by wonderful staff and we know that it will bring you success and joy.”
The new owners were born in the North Indian state of Punjab, the origin of most of Griffith’s large Indian population.
Lala Toor also runs a cleaning business which services Griffith Central while his wife Mandy has been preparing muffins and sweets for Amanti for the past decade.
The family have already made some additions to the menu, serving decaf for the first time, along with frappes.
Although Mandy is an expert at Indian cuisine, Lala said it’s unlikely they’ll be serving samosas or onion bhaji any time soon.
“We’d like to, but it’s hard with the location in Griffith Central. You need a big exhaust fan when you prepare Indian food. But you never know, we will see.”
The ownership transition has been helped by the retention of Amanti staff stalwart Ellise Pellizzer, who continues to work six days a week while she studies remotely via the Royal Academy of Dance.
“It’s as if nothing has changed here, [the Toors] are great to work for,” Ms Pellizzer said.
Ms Pellizzer is one of Australia’s leading ballerinas, working as a dance instructor for Leeton’s DiSalvatore Dance Academy. In 2018, she was one of 10 dancers in the world to be accepted into New York’s prestigious Ajkun Ballet Theatre. Her plans to pursue her dancing career overseas have been delayed by COVID.
“I’m also really close to my family, so in a way it’s nice to be in Griffith.”
The dancing world’s loss is Amanti’s gain. The cafe remains open seven days a week, a 6am start on weekdays making it ideal for tradies. Customers can also continue to pre-order via an app.
“We want to keep up the high standard but we are always open to feedback. Just let us know what you think,” Gary said.