Today I had the pleasure of chatting with Lifeguard Bruce ‘Hoppo’ Hopkins and his wife Stacey, the new owners of Chapter One wine bar on Campbell Parade.
A petite spot perched on a corner overlooking Bondi to the South, it’s a popular breakfast hangout, particularly for those with laptops looking for a cosy office with a beautiful view.
I was curious to find out how Stacey and Hoppo got involved and what their plans are for the future.
“We took over the business four weeks ago this Saturday,” Stacey told me, clearly excited about the new venture. “Hoppo and I had always talked about how amazing it would be to own a business like this, so we put it out there and the universe responded with the opportunity. It had been for sale for four months before we found out!”
It’s clear that this situation was meant to be. Stacey had been working at Chapter One for months before she found out that it was for sale, and prior to that the couple had been long-time regulars.
“This is our first business, so we’re both a bit blindfolded at the moment,” Stacey admitted. “We just knew that this was something we wanted to do. The fact that I’d already been working here made it so much more comfortable. We’ve kept all the staff: the locals love them.”
A recent trip to Japan has inspired the future direction for the cafe, and the couple will soon introduce an Asian fusion menu.
“Hoppo was the ambassador for the Japanese brand Uniqlo prior to us owning Chapter One. We went over for five weeks (last month), having purchased this cafe the week before leaving. We didn’t know that we were going to come back and bring the Japanese concept here.”
“We were just observing how well they do things in such a small space,” Stacey reflected. “And the other crazy thing is that our Chef James’ fiancé is Japanese, so he cooks a lot of Japanese at home. Everything was pointing towards an obvious direction.”
Due to the small kitchen, Stacey tells me that they’ll be focusing on share plates and pub style food, basing the menu around the selection of alcohol. The choice will include saké, whiskies and beer on tap.
There will also be some changes to opening times, with the cafe remaining open until 10pm Thurs-Sat from mid September. Keep an eye out for further information about a launch party and the new menu on their Facebook page.
I wish them the best of luck, they are such a lovely couple and I’m sure they will continue to get a lot of local support!
Tracey @ What’s New Bondi xx