Little Parliament managing director Carly Ladas and head chef Mick Anderson.
Little Parliament managing director Carly Ladas and head chef Mick Anderson.

Cooloola hot spot goes off, sells 75kg of coffee in few days

RAINBOW Beach locals have gone “nuts” for a new cafe which opened last month.

Managing director Carly Ladas said she bought the cafe formerly known as Cafe Jilarty in mid-April, and transformed the space into a new eco-conscious cafe, retail store and art gallery.

“It took about eight weeks. We fully renovated, rebranded, got new staff, new menu, new suppliers.

“It was a full-on expedition.”

Now called Little Parliament, the cafe reopened on June 20, to a warm welcome from the community.

Excited new owner Carly Ladas during Little Parliament’s renovation.
Excited new owner Carly Ladas during Little Parliament’s renovation.

“The opening went so well, everyone’s been so supportive and I think everyone was ready for a change,” Mrs Ladas said.

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“They’re loving that we are trying to support as many local artists, farmers and producers as possible so it’s been a really good reception.

“We’ve sold something ridiculous like 75 kilos of coffee in a few days, it’s been nuts.”

Mrs Ladas, who grew up on an organic farm outside of Gympie, said supporting local farmers and producers was a “huge part” of the business.

Little Parliament supports local farmers and suppliers including Forage Farms.
Little Parliament supports local farmers and suppliers including Forage Farms.

“We want to offer a simple seasonal menu that will change regularly depending on what’s in season, and we are trying to source as much as we can locally and at least within Australia,” she said.

“The new chef has done so well with the menu, it’s really simple but he just nails it.”

As well as the cafe, Mrs Ladas has began work on opening an “eco store” on site, where they will sell products from local farmers and artisans.

“We’ve got our house blend coffee [for sale] and we want to eventually make our own pickles, pasta and butter, and we want to stock local artisan food,” she said.

“There’s the Mary Valley Food Co who do dried fruit, we’re going to stock some of their stuff, and there’s dried flower florist, we’ve just started stocking her flower arrangements.

Some yummy treats on offer at Little Parliament baked by Martine at Village Food and Events.
Some yummy treats on offer at Little Parliament baked by Martine at Village Food and Events.

“I make ceramics and there’s a local ceramicist in town so we want to put those on display, and eventually if there’s excess produce from our farmers or eggs we might even put them in our shop.”

There is also a small art gallery in the cafe, for local artists to display and sell pieces.

“We’ve got photographers, abstract painters, a sculptor in town that would like to put some work up, and a local wood maker that wants to do some woodwork for it.”

Mrs Ladas said it was her first time opening a business, and while she had worked in hospitality during university, her background was in property, economics and development.

“It’s a little bit of a new venture for me,” she said.

She said opening a business during COVID-19 was “a little bit scary” but she was still passionate and excited.

Carly's dog Frida welcoming customers at Little Parliament.
Carly's dog Frida welcoming customers at Little Parliament.

“There were some good little government grants and incentives along the way,” she said.

“We did get a small business grant and another little grant for diversifying our business offering because beforehand it was just a cafe but we are expanding into the gallery and an eco-retail store.

“Everything’s been flowing really well so I feel like I’m on the right track even though some things I’m a little bit green at for sure.”

Mrs Ladas said the name Little Parliament was inspired by a cafe in Greece called Micro Parliament.

“It’s a spin on this amazing little cafe over in the Greek Islands, but basically what it comes down to is it’s a place for the locals to go and talk about things that are important to them. The old guys might come in the morning and talk about the sport or what’s been on the news, and then the mum’s come in later for coffee and talk about what’s been happening with their kids, and it’s just a hub for people to meet and talk about what’s important to them.”

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