FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Matt Forrester and Shedea Gizzi at the Royal Cafe.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Matt Forrester and Shedea Gizzi at the Royal Cafe. Crystal Jones

The Bundy cafe where you make the menu

A MAN enters the Royal Cafe. He orders a salad sandwich with asparagus and pineapple.

It's no problem for the cafe staff, in fact, they look forward to each customer's order and what they might choose.

The 155 Bourbong St business is now offering a build-your-own menu, while keeping it authentic.

New owner Matt Forrester, who took over the cafe in December, says he almost changed the cafe's name, but after six months, he knew the humble eatery was too big a part of history to change.

"I was in here about six weeks and I was like, 'no, this is the Royal',” he said.

The Royal Cafe build-your-own burger menu.
The Royal Cafe build-your-own burger menu. Crystal Jones

"This has been here I think, since 1881 and in 1888 was when it was very, very popular and that's when in 1885 the guys from the rum distillery, they came and had a meeting here, all the farmers and in 1888 they created Bundaberg Rum so that all happened from somewhere within these walls.

"When I got involved I wanted to get it known for what it is and bring the history back to it.”

You can build-your-own almost anything, according to Mr Forrester, who previously worked as a chef.

The options range from burgers to sandwiches to wraps, with a set choice of fillings - give or take - followed by a number of choices for extra additions.

"You have complete freedom of choice and we've had some really random combinations come through,” Mr Forrester said.

"We had like a savoury mince salad with pineapple.”

The Royal Cafe's menu.
The Royal Cafe's menu. Crystal Jones

Another fascinating customer creation was the fish, beetroot, pineapple and avocado burger.

"I thought 'that looks really nice',” Mr Forrester said.

"I tried it the next day and it was amazing.

"There's some crazy stuff, very, very crazy stuff, but it's up to people's liking. Our slogan is 'have it your way at the Royal Cafe'”.

Mr Forrester said, at first, the cafe was quite unknown.

One of the burgers at the Royal Cafe, where customers can make their own.
One of the burgers at the Royal Cafe, where customers can make their own. Contributed

He surveyed 105 people on the same block as the cafe to ask if they knew where it was, but only 15 could tell him.

"So I thought 'it's not service, quality or reputation, it's just people don't know it's here,” Mr Forrester said.

Mr Forrester said he had been working hard on supporting local and giving back to the community as much as possible.

The cafe sometimes holds $500 cash giveaways and one day each week they deliver free coffees to support a nearby business.

"We got rid of Coca Cola's Grinders cafe and we got a local guy from Bundaberg who makes his own coffee... everything is sourced locally,” Mr Forrester said.

The menu even includes black pudding made in-house by Barrett's Butchery.

"With our menu and the way we've done it, it's got a real new flair to it,” Mr Forrester said.

The cafe is open from 6.30am till 3pm Monday to Saturday.