An old saying but so true. Ocean Grove, Groove Cafe, owner Tony Zhang has proven this. He’s up early every day, and he catches more than the worms. He catches all the early tradies. The place is buzzing! Hot coffee, breakfast, and food for the day. My early morning walking exercise to buy the Advertiser confirms this statement.

The logo on the coffee cups, umbrellas, windbreak screens, large neon display sign, and all advertising shows the rooster. The main steel silent rooster sits above the cafe and quietly observes everything as roosters do. “The early bird gets the worm,” says Tony. He’s the brains behind the café with his always warm, friendly, and speedy service. Staff and Tony make a point of knowing their regular customers by name.

Tony and his wife, Ivy, came to Australia to visit friends twelve years ago. Following that holiday, a decision was made to move away from the overcrowded, and bustling city of Beijing. They also wanted to live in a small town and enjoy a healthier life, have children, and a good education. The most important goal was to live a happier stress-free lifestyle. Ocean Grove was the choice.

Five plus years later, Tony is running a very successful business. The Groove Cafe has a reputation for a hot-to-trot coffee. Mornings are fast-moving times, they often have four people operating the one coffee machine every day. Speed is the essence. They have permanent staff and others are rotating. Their Take Away food is excellent, cooked by experienced kitchen staff. Groove Cafe is a very popular place for little groups to gather socially on a regular basis. Unfortunately, not at the moment with coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

I do admire Tony for constantly making improvements and renovating the cafe which in turn makes it more comfortable for customers, gives better service, and brings in more business.

Tony knows he will always have to keep working hard. He has a tremendous happy attitude to work. He knows there will always be the continuous costs of educating and providing for his family. Not to mention four daughters, four weddings.

Katie, the first young girl was six months old when the cafe was taken over. She is now six years old and going to school. Their fourth-youngest daughter Kira was born this month. Tony and Ivy are a very positive, happy family.

Some years ago, Tony played basketball and surfed when time permitted. He loved that but has no time now for those purists. He gets to paddle on the river occasionally.

Tony and family love Ocean Grove, love the people, and have various groups of multicultural friends coming to the cafe for coffee, eats, and friendship.

What a successful and enjoyable life. One can see the loving way the customers greet Tony and the staff when they make their regular purchases at Groove Cafe.

Well done Tony, keep loving your coffee making, your family, and your roosters. Talk to them, they are strong and resilient. They always maintain a high spot in your life and cafe.

Written and photos by Elaine Janes, Aug 2020.