I don’t usually dedicate a story specifically on an individual cafe, other than in my Life Behind Bars series, but in this case I’m making an exception, given the nature of this particular cafe and how it has cemented a major event into our local history. Most motorcycle riders and many other travellers that have passed through Mirboo North over the years will know of the Inline 4 Cafe, which was almost a mandatory stopover for riders. They may also be aware that in 2014 the owners Marcel and Sabine started the Blessing of the Bikes, which has now grown to become a major Victorian motorcycle event that precedes the Victorian Moto GP at Philip Island. That said, things weren’t always smooth riding as I’ve previously written, especially as the Blessing of the Bikes continued to grow, so there came a time when the event had to find a new home. That new home became San Remo, where the first Blessing of the Bikes in 2017 was a resounding success; however, that wasn’t the end of things, as Marcel and Sabine wanted to continue with the Inline 4 Cafe and that too has now found a new home.
So on 10 Sep 2018, Chapter Two of the Inline 4 Cafe commenced, with an entirely new and significantly improved facility at Cape Woolamai, just south of San Remo. Marcel and Sabine teamed up with Carl Cox (DJ, motor sport enthusiast and whatnot) to reconfigure what was previously Dutchies Stonegrill Restaurant and, with vastly more space and kitchen facilities than was available in the original Inline 4 Cafe, the new cafe has become quite a different beast indeed. So naturally we had to pay an inaugural visit after following the trials and tribulations of both the Inline 4 Cafe and the Blessing of the Bikes since their inception. We certainly weren’t disappointed and the new cafe is quite a sight to behold. Motorcycle enthusiasts will especially feel very much at home as they have been catered for from the moment they ride in, with special parking for ‘motorcycles only’ around the cafe.
The motorcycle racing theme continues within, much like in the original Inline 4 Cafe, but now on a much grander scale, given the increased floor and ceiling space. Hooks for helmets and gear are located throughout and there’s also a bit of industrial design included, with exposed steel beams and bolts that both support motorcycle displays as well as furniture and fittings. The openness and light throughout the cafe also gives it a completely different atmosphere compared to the earlier Inline 4 Cafe, though the open front area of the earlier cafe was a pleasant place to be on a warm day while watching the passing parade of cars and bikes. Not that the latter takes away anything from the new digs, which I think will become a major feature in the area once the warmer weather starts to make itself felt. For those that have been regular visitor’s to the ‘old’ Inline 4 Cafe, I promise that you’ll be very impressed with the new Inline 4 Cafe.
With the increased space available, there’s now a lot more room for memorabilia and the like to decorate all parts of the cafe, and no wall has been left bare when it comes to reminding visitors what this place is all about. The memorabilia also serves in part to commemorate the history of motorcycle racing, both in Australia and abroad, and is something that Marcel, Sabine and Carl are passionate about in every respect. Walking about the cafe, you can pretty much gain a history of motorcycle racing by looking at the photos, reading the stories and learning about the famous names, both riders and manufacturers, that have been involved in this motor sport. Mind you, dwelling too long in the toilets taking in the photographs may draw some attention.
While it was fairly quiet this Monday afternoon, there was still a constant flow of customers during our short stay, which is something that Marcel and Sabine are reasonably comfortable with for the moment while they train their new staff in all aspects of the cafe. And it seems that all the staff are pretty happy to be associated with this new venture and their contribution to the cafe, especially the family atmosphere that Marcel and Sabine have fostered. It’s not long now before the 2018 Blessing of the Bikes is due and talking to Marcel there’s still a lot for him to do on this front, as the cafe has taken so much of his time to finalise. But knowing Marcel and Sabine’s passion for the Blessing of the Bikes I have no doubt that they’ll pull through and come 20 Oct 2018 the Blessing of the Bikes will be a roaring success, with those hesitant days in 2014 perhaps a distant, yet fond memory.
Update 1. 23 Dec 2018 was the fifth anniversary for the Inline 4 Cafe and we thought we’d pay a visit to celebrate Marcel and Sabine on their fantastic efforts to get the new and improved Inline 4 Cafe established. We came early guessing that it was going to be a busy day for all at the cafe given the outstanding weather this Sunday. And that proved to be a good move, as by midday it was starting to become very busy indeed, with a group of around 40 riders apparently on their way to the cafe, on top of those already there. Things at the cafe are still a bit hectic, with more staff needed, but that’s a good sign if nothing else. We took our leave a little after midday, as more riders kept rolling in and no one had time for any idle chit chat this afternoon. Whether a short or longer visit, it was good to see Marcel and Sabine once again. And we hope they and their staff have a very merry Christmas and a great New Year.