Dodo’s Delights is the culmination of a long-held pipe dream between Lee Cole-Hayhow and his mother Rhonda Hayhow.
“We’d been talking about opening a hospitality business for close to ten years,” explains Lee. “But the timing was never right. I was a primary school teacher and mum was in business administration and it wasn’t until 2015 that we both decided to move away from our careers at the same time.”
Lee and Rhonda started small, with a stall at farmers markets selling Rhonda’s jams and relishes under the label ‘Dodo’s Delights’. Then they operated a food truck serving loaded fries under another alliterative name, Frequent Fries, before leasing the kitchen and dining room of the Mona Castle pub in Seddon and running ‘Dodo’s Dining Room’ in 2019.
In 2020 they decided to look for their own venue and came upon an empty barber’s shop across the street from Tottenham train station.
“Tottenham seemed to be the only station in the inner west without a cafe nearby, so we thought this was a good opportunity to bring something lacking to the neighbourhood,” says Lee. “Since we opened in December 2020 the local residents have embraced having a coffee shop within walking distance from their house.”
“Since we opened in December 2020 the local residents have embraced having a coffee shop within walking distance from their house.”
Dodo’s Delights serves traditional family food – including Rhonda’s pasties and Lee’s grandmother’s sausage roll recipe – and Bonacci coffee, a family-owned boutique roastery based in Tullamarine. Rhonda’s famous relishes feature on all the sandwiches and rolls. The muffins, slices and cakes are all homemade, using old family recipes.
The interior decor is a retro delight, with many of Rhonda’s knick-knacks dotted around. The vibe is like a homely lounge room, down to the bookshelf of Rhonda’s old novels and cookbooks that customers are welcome to browse and swap.
“We want people to come to Dodo’s Delights and feel like they’re having coffee with family,” smiles Lee. “We’re not trying to be too fancy. It’s just good food and good company in a comfortable, relaxing space where everyone is welcome.”
As for the origin of the name ‘Dodo’? It’s apparently Rhonda’s childhood nickname!